Photos: Four Birds Rescued From Yellville Turkey Torment

Video Shows Festivalgoers Fighting Over Traumatized, Panting Birds

For Immediate Release:
October 16, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Yellville, Ark. – Local PETA supporters have negotiated the release of four turkeys used in the 2017 Yellville Turkey Trot, an event in which live turkeys—unable to fly from heights—were hurled from an airplane, the courthouse roof, and the festival stage on Friday and Saturday. Rescuers quickly moved the birds to a comfortable temporary enclosure, where they’ll await adoption into safe homes. Photos (available here) show the turkeys on clean bedding and with fresh food—while video from the Turkey Trot (available here) show birds panting in terror on the ground while people around them scream at each other.

PETA also obtained video footage of men throwing turkeys from the courthouse roof and from the stage. One video shows an adult woman screaming at a young girl who had pinned a bird down: The woman wrapped her hands around the turkey’s neck and shouted, “I’d already grabbed the neck!” A man removed the turkey and gave him to the child.

“These sensitive birds panted in terror in a trailer, where they awaited being hurled from the sky over a rowdy crowd,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “People who intentionally abuse living, feeling beings like this should face trial for cruelty to animals, yet local law enforcement won’t act—and callous people cheer.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that tossing frightened, disoriented turkeys to the ground appears to violate Arkansas state anti-cruelty laws. PETA rescued one turkey whose legs were trussed and who was tossed onto the concrete, where he lay panting as spectators walked over him. PETA’s video shows a woman holding his legs, telling a nearby child, “I’m gonna fatten it up and chop its head off.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind