Animal groups have erupted in fury over a planned turkey throw in Ireland.

Fermanagh hotel owner Joe Mahon plans to throw 50 live turkeys from the top of a 100-foot clock tower to see if they can fly.

He laughed off animal rights complaints saying he was not being cruel to the birds.

“It's not cruel because turkeys are supposed to be able to fly like all birds, so if they can then what's the problem?

"We're going to march the turkeys up the steps of the town clock and throw them off the top to see if they can fly and that’s that.

“I'll be throwing some of the turkeys off the tower myself, no bother, and Santa Claus will be at the bottom holding a safety blanket and will be ready to catch the turkeys if they don't fly.

"He won't miss them flying through the air because we've just started training him up. He'll be well up to the job on the day.”

Stephen Philpott of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says he he will do everything he can to stop the turkey throw.

“We would object strongly to this activity as well. It is not entertaining, it is merely exploiting animals or creatures in a horrendous way,” he said.