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Turkeys Are Dropped From Planes in Arkansas

Newser — Arden Dier

No matter how busy the holiday travel season, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a smoother flight than the unfortunate turkeys involved in Arkansas' Turkey Trot. The annual October festival in Yellville sees turkeys hurled from buildings and a plane flying 500 feet above the ground.

Disturbed? You're not alone. Tommy Lee is among those to bash the "sick" tradition, reports Arkansas Online. Live Science explains the uproar: Domestic turkeys are bred for flightlessness, their bodies too heavy for their wings to get them off the ground.

While their wings can slow a descent, there's no guarantee domestic turkeys will survive falls from great heights. The same is true of wild turkeys, which can only fly short distances.

Indeed, two turkeys dropped from a plane last year died on impact.

At least four turkeys dropped this year were found injured and bleeding, though they've since found refuge at a New York shelter, where they were named John, Ringo, George, and Paul, per the Fairfield Citizen.

The town of Yellville technically stopped throwing turkeys in 1989—continuing the Turkey Trot festival started in 1946 with a dance, race, and parade—but local pilots continue to throw turkeys, per the Citizen and Baxter Bulletin.

Despite animal activists' appeals, the FAA says it doesn't have the authority to intervene. "FAA regulations do not specifically prohibit dropping live animals from aircraft, possibly because the authors of the regulation never anticipated that an explicit prohibition would be necessary," a rep tells the Huffington Post, adding, "This does not mean we endorse the practice."

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