Rocker Tommy Lee Speaks Out To End Arkansas’s “Sick” Festival Of Dropping Live Turkeys From Airplanes

A live turkey falls from a plane over a field on Oct. 14 during Yellville’s Turkey Trot festival. Despite the outcry from animal-welfare activists, federal officials say such flights violate no regulations.

It is the time of year when people are encouraged to acknowledge and share some of the things that they are most thankful for.

At WAN, we always appreciate when people in the public eye use their platforms to promote animal welfare and living a compassionate plant-based lifestyle.

Yesterday, Motley Crue drummer and animal advocate Tommy Lee not only joined the growing group of people appalled that live Turkeys are tossed from airplanes flown by “phantom pilots” as part of the Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot festival, but he also did something about it.

According to, Lee sent a letter to Yellville Mayor Shawn Lane about the abhorrent 50-year ritual referred to as the turkey drop.

“I’ve met some wild Arkansans over the years while touring there with Motley Crue, and I thought I’d heard it all,” wrote Lee in the letter which was confirmed to be authentic by his manager Rick Canny. “But I just heard from my friends at PETA about a twisted Ozark ritual that even the most deranged headbanger couldn’t invent: dropping live turkeys from a plane as the ‘entertainment’ at the ‘family-friendly’ Turkey Trot festival. I’m writing to add my voice to the thousands of others asking you to help deep-six this sick stunt.”

While Lee was in the recording studio yesterday and not available for comment, Canny told the media outlet that he received a copy of the letter from Lee.

“Tommy has been involved with PETA for a long time,” said Canny. “He speaks up when he thinks it’s something he should lend his voice to.”

Another copy of the letter was reportedly sent to the Yellville Area Chamber of Commerce.

City, chamber and Marion County officials have said that, while they support the Turkey Trot festival, they have no involvement in the dropping of live turkeys from airplanes.

“As a longtime fan of the Ozarks, I respectfully ask you and the Chamber of Commerce to use your power to drop the turkey drop,” Lee concluded in the letter.

A copy of the letter was also delivered to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Unfathomably, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the inhumane dropping of live animals out of airplanes does not violate any of its regulations.

While the turkeys usually spread their wings and glide to a landing, some become confused and try to flap their wings. Instead of floating, they fall. Out of a dozen turkeys that were dropped during the 2016 festival, two reportedly died on impact.

At their top speed and at an altitude of fewer than 100 feet, wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph.

During the turkey drop, the airplane is at an altitude of at least 500 feet.

This year’s Turkey Trot festival took place on October 13 and 14.

May it be the last.

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