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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Advocates protest weekend "Turkey Bowl" at Playland

Published in THE JOURNAL NEWS, 11/17/06:

RYE - As food pantries send out last-minute appeals to fill their shelves for the holidays, Westchester County has another idea about what to do with Thanksgiving turkeys and hens.

Use them as bowling balls.

Tomorrow, the county parks department will provide families with a frozen turkey and a few Cornish hens to slide down the ice toward bowling pins in a competition at the Playland Ice Casino. Winners get a fresher, less battered frozen turkey or hen to take home for the table, but the birds used in the competition - parks officials call it a "Turkey Bowl" - are thrown in the trash.

Local food pantries and animal rights advocates say it's a bird-brained idea.

"Oh, no. That's not a good thing to do with food," said Christina Rohatynskyj, executive director of Westchester FoodPATCH, which this week and next will distribute about 5,000 frozen turkeys and 3,000 frozen chickens to Westchester's food pantries for redistribution to the poor for Thanksgiving Day. "Maybe that sends a wrong message. I have a problem with using food as a toy."

Kiley Blackman, spokeswoman for Animal Defenders of Westchester, a Yonkers group that has taken on the county before by picketing circuses at the County Center, said the Turkey Bowl is "such an uneducated thing to do."

"I thought Westchester was better than that, frankly," Blackman said. "These are intelligent, inquisitive animals who have a terrible life on factory farms. And this is what they're doing with them? Some little animal has to die so Westchester County can use them as bowling balls?"

Peter Tartaglia, a spokesman for the county parks department, said the department will buy the turkey and hens that will be used in the event at a supermarket, so no animals are killed specifically for the Turkey Bowl. He said none of the birds come from the two county-owned farms where livestock are raised, Muscoot in Somers and Hilltop Hanover in Yorktown.

"This is a very innocent program," Tartaglia said. "It's a holiday fun program. We use one frozen turkey that's bagged up (for the adults) and for the kids we use one, maybe two, Cornish hens. They roll - not throw - the turkey. It's done in fun. There are other places around the country that do this at bowling alleys."

David Kvinge, a county planner who is a spokesman for Hilltop Hanover farm, where sheep and other livestock are raised, did not return phone calls seeking comment on the event.

A woman who identified herself as the manager of Muscoot Farm, which raises turkeys, hens and other barnyard animals as part of its interpretive display on Westchester's agricultural history, said department policy prevented her from commenting on the event.

Meanwhile, Muscoot is planning a "Turkey Fun" day Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. that will include making turkey paper cutouts and viewing the birds, alive and clucking. 

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