Enter Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, and you may see it as not unlike many other New England towns. Though the picturesque multicolored leaves, quaint little shops and businesses, and beautiful 17th century architecture may not be unique, one thing surely is.
For several months, a magnificent and friendly turkey, named Kevin, roamed around in downtown Old Wethersfield, with a particular propensity for the areas in and around Main and Maple Street. The bird brought thousands of dollars into the town, with many local shops creating and selling his merchandise. He also served as a means to unify Wethersfield and surrounding towns in love for him, with a 5,452 member strong Facebook group “FANS OF THE WETHERSFIELD TURKEY” dedicated to his daily activities. In his time in Wethersfield, Kevin was always courteous to the public, approaching but never attacking a single person.
So, all seems well and fine, right? Wrong. Just Wednesday morning, Wethersfield Police officers, as well as the Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), took the town’s beloved bird and forcibly relocated him to Algonquin Forest in the remote town of Colebrook, CT. Simply put, justifications for such an action were pitiful and unjust.
In an interview with the Hartford Courant, DEEP spokesman Chris Collibee declared that “Kevin travels through a highly populated area and had posed a hazard to himself and others, necessitating his relocation”. Using this as the baseline for his capture, it is apparent that the government simply did not want to permit Kevin to stay in his natural habitat, as none of these statements are remotely close to veritable. In fact, there are four segments to the statement, all four of which are deeply flawed.
As a precursor to the statement, Collibee remarked that Kevin travels through a particularly populated area. He makes this statement with no context, and in fact, the intelligent animal has learned over time to make his habitat in less and less populated areas. This March, at his first sighting, Kevin was spotted on Route 3 (Maple Street), which admittedly is a busy road. Despite this initial sighting, Kevin did not remain in this area. By September, his primary habitat was on Main Street in Old Wethersfield, which receives significantly less traffic, save those interested in coming to visit the animal. Since then, he has further relocated to the more animal-friendly Cove Park, nesting in a nearby tree in a local restaurant. Clearly, for whatever reason, safety-related or otherwise, Kevin consistently seeks out less and less populated areas, which further ensures his safety.
Following the fallacious introduction, Collibee then proceeded to claim that Kevin was a danger to both himself and to others, which necessitates removal. This is a perplexing statement that shows an embarrassing level of incompetency by a state official. The only danger that Kevin could possibly cause to himself would be getting hit by a car. Yet, his natural thought to move to areas with progressively fewer and fewer cars shows that clearly, the danger to himself is being drastically reduced over time.
Furthermore, this tendency to move away from population centers subsequently reduces the risk of harm to others. While it is true that Kevin does have a habit of entering the streets, in nine months of calling Wethersfield his home, the bird has not caused a single accident. The only negative effects have been minute long delays to allow the innocent town celebrity to cross the road in peace. If this is the case, then what could possibly be the necessary fact for his removal? Anyone can cause harm to themselves or others at any time, yet anytime this potentiality exists, we do not simply remove the risk from society and isolate it in an area far from its home. Kevin’s perfect track record shows that he is no more of a threat than anyone else, and in fact has caused fewer accidents than the average human driving a car. Given this information, there is absolutely no reason to suggest that Kevin, the beloved town mascot, has posed a major threat to Wethersfield. Thus, there were no benefits to his removal. In fact, there were a number of detriments.
First of all, Kevin served as an economic spike to a town that otherwise would not have been particularly outstanding in gross output. Throughout Wethersfield and neighboring New Britain, many stores sold calendars, Christmas ornaments, posters, magnets, shirts, glasses, yard signs, and countless other forms of merchandise honoring the bird, who became a sort of a town mascot. The Old Wethersfield County Store sold upwards of $2,000 worth of Kevin-themed calendars alone. Though no data is directly available for the bird’s direct economic impact, it is indubitably tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short nine months, due to all of the stores’ Kevin gear.
To further assess the growth, one must assess his lure to the town. Throughout these nine months, individuals from all over the state have come to the town in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the famous animal. As more people are attracted to an area, there will naturally be more money spent in that area on all items, whether it be food, clothing, gas, or any other necessity. Kevin was a friendly lure for natural business to the old town.
I have had the privilege of approaching Kevin, who is pictured above, on numerous occasions, and during them, he showed no signs of aggression, despite the nearly constant paparazzi that congregated around him. Though I got within a couple of feet of the bird, he minded his own business, merely clucking happily a couple of times and looking towards the camera. As nearly every passing car slowed and rolled down their window, I heard excited shouts of “Hey, it’s Kevin!” and “Kevin for mayor!” Throughout the area, he became a beloved figure, though it did not stop the government from coldly taking him away from his home, where a number of townspeople regularly fed him and provided him with water. By taking away Central Connecticut’s favorite bird seemingly unnecessarily, they have robbed a town of a source of joy and unity. We want our bird back.