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YELLVILLE, AR (KARK) — In a little town where there’s little action, there’s always one thing everyone looks forward too.
“This is the biggest thing that happens in Yellville,” says Vicki Sefter.
Every year during the town’s Turkey Trot parade, a person known as The Phantom Pilot flies over the festival and drops live turkeys from a moving airplane. The turkeys are dropped from about 500 feet.
“I believe it’s inhumane,” says Bobby Wilson. “I’ve seen a couple of the birds get in the power lines and get burned up by the power lines and I’ve seen some of them get hit by cars.”
“They can fly. It’s not like we’re throwing a dog out the plane,” says Debra Johnson who’s visiting from Oxford, Arkansas.
Not one, not two but four turkeys were dropped during the festival on Saturday.
Sefter’s son owns a shirt company. The family business is selling “Turkey Lives Matter” shirts this year.
“Turkey Lives Matter, that shows we’re not barbaric people,” says Sefter. “People from the city that don’t know that think they just crash to the ground and we’re just murdering turkeys.”
Wilson disagrees though. He’s lived in Yellville most his life and says birds have been killed during the drop.
“Between the power lines, landing in the creek and traffic around here I’ve noticed a lot of birds just being killed,” he says.
Arkansas Game and Fish Corporal Tim Davenport says the issue is out of their hands because the turkeys are considered pets not wild animals.
“Everybody’s different. Everyone has their opinions. Some people want to live one way, others want to live another,” says Davenport.
The Baxter Bulletin reports at least one turkey died this weekend.