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On 10/10/2014 the Animal Rescue Site mailed 47,908 signatures to Senators Jeff Jackson, Trudy Wade, and Angela Bryant urging them to continue advocating for the repeal of SL 2014-7. While we wait for a response from them, please continue to sign and share this petition with your friends and fellow animal advocates!
Goal: 75,000 Progress: 50,304
Sponsored by: The Rainforest Site

Large crowds, live music, and loud fireworks — it would have all the hallmarks of a typical New Year’s celebration, if not for the terrified opossum dangled in a cramped box over the cheering mob. This is Brasstown’s annual “Opossum Drop,” which adds a North Carolina “twist” on the prominent ball drop in Time Square. (See the video under “More about this issue” for a first-hand look.)

In recent years, event organizers have faced increased pressure from animal advocates, culminating in a lawsuit that prevented use of a live opossum in the 2013 event. Not to be deterred, State Representative Roger West (who also happens to sponsor the Opossum Drop) introduced a bill (HB 1131) “to exempt Clay County from state wildlife laws with respect to opossums between the dates of December 26 and January 2.” The bill became law in June 2014.

An implicit acknowledgement that the event violates the state’s existing wildlife laws, this law sets a poor precedent, prioritizing personal and commercial interests over animal welfare. Worse still, this “family friendly” event teaches young kids in attendance that it’s okay to masquerade animal abuse as entertainment.

This leaves us until the end of the year to let North Carolina’s General Assembly know we don’t tolerate this brand of animal cruelty. Fortunately, a trio of Senators that serve on the state’s Environment Committee also voted against this awful piece of legislation. Sign below to stand behind them and call on a law to repeal SL 2014-7.

Sign Here

Dear Senators Jeff Jackson, Trudy Wade, and Angela Bryant:

As members of the state’s Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources, I am writing to you to ask you continue standing up against animal cruelty in all of its manifestations. Specifically, this is a request to repeal SL 2014-7, which permits Brasstown, NC to continue using live opossums in their annual New Year’s celebration, the “Opossum Drop.” All but the event’s most ardent supporters recognize this façade for what it is — animal cruelty masquerading as entertainment.

The Opossum Drop is especially dangerous in its depictions of animal cruelty. Billed as a “family friendly” event, the celebration dresses up torture and animal abuse in a veneer of frivolity that belies the tragic underpinnings of the event. Each year, organizers capture and confine the typically reclusive marsupial in a cramped space where it is left to dangle above thousands of cheering onlookers as they celebrate with loud music, fireworks, and even musket fire.

Concerned citizens are dismissed as hippie killjoys out to ruin a town tradition in the name of political correctness. But “tradition” often serves as a last refuge for anachronistic practices that fall from social favor. Opossum Drop’s defenders are particularly disingenuous, ignoring the fact that the event was fabricated in 1990 as a desperate marketing ploy for the tiny Appalachian town. Since then, the event has quickly enshrined a public display of animal cruelty that now enjoys state protection.

Those same supporters also argue the captive opossum receives better treatment than a wild opossum and then is released back into the wild after the event. Yet reams of evidence and experts counter that the abducted mammal suffers potentially lethal trauma from the exposure and likely perishes shortly after release. Opossums are nocturnal creatures that prefer dark and secure areas — not a Plexiglas case left hanging above a rambunctious crowd during a fireworks show.

A replica could easily stand in for these unfortunate opossums and prevent any potential for abuse — not to mention the mounting cost of legal battles in courtrooms and the state legislature — while carrying on the tradition. In fact, true adherents should recall the very first Opossum Drop used a ceramic replica and only later introduced the live opossum.

As it stands now, Opossum Drop’s only legacy is one of animal cruelty, teaching future generations that such mistreatment is not only tolerated, but actually encouraged. The punchline of many jokes, it’s easy and even tempting to dismiss the troubles of this solitary marsupial. It gives me some hope to see a small enclave of reason and empathy operating in an environment dominated by personal and commercial interests.

Please, do what you can to convince your colleagues and your constituents that SL 2014-7 is a shameful law and needs repealed immediately.


(The Undersigned)

Petition Signatures

Dec 21, 2014 Melanie Lewis Disgusting! Come on!
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) THIS IS JUST SICK !
Dec 21, 2014 Eduardo Breziniski
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) stop all animal abuse
Dec 21, 2014 lennie rodoff
Dec 21, 2014 Virginia Jones
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Elena Armstrong
Dec 21, 2014 michelle nieves
Dec 21, 2014 Hilda Marczinko
Dec 21, 2014 lisa LaMantia
Dec 21, 2014 Gloria Ferrell Please discontinue the "Opossum Drop" as it teaches children that it's okay to abuse animals. How can any intelligent adult not see that it is not ever sport or fun to abuse animals!
Dec 21, 2014 Mary Walker
Dec 21, 2014 yolande jaskiw
Dec 21, 2014 Maudina Warrick
Dec 21, 2014 jean-pierre jakobik
Dec 21, 2014 Elizabeth Heller
Dec 21, 2014 Richard Bosboom
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) What's the point of terrifying an animal?
Dec 21, 2014 Charlene Altrichter
Dec 21, 2014 Rev. Elizabeth Dodd
Dec 21, 2014 Brittany Minor
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Lee Trail This is obscene. Don't do it.
Dec 21, 2014 Amy Wells
Dec 21, 2014 Sandra Siegel
Dec 21, 2014 Claudine Beck
Dec 21, 2014 russ jaso
Dec 21, 2014 Janice Summerfield-Lee
Dec 21, 2014 Loretta A. Bazemore Shame on NC.
Dec 21, 2014 zach nesmith
Dec 21, 2014 Laura Carla Beltrame
Dec 21, 2014 Ero Ioannidou
Dec 21, 2014 Christiana Ioannidou
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Kathleen A. Winston stop cruelty to this shy gentle creature
Dec 21, 2014 Charlotte Cadorel Stop this! It's barbaric, and cruel to the animal! There's nothing fun or civilized about any of this! Shame on you!
Dec 21, 2014 Linda Mansfield
Dec 21, 2014 Lilian Dahlin Stop this immediately
Dec 21, 2014 Joey Lynn
Dec 21, 2014 connie clarke
Dec 21, 2014 Rhonda Jackman
Dec 21, 2014 Gabriela Moraes
Dec 21, 2014 Ruth Lanton
Dec 21, 2014 Cathy Larsen
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Desiree Lepez
Dec 21, 2014 Anne Naglo
Dec 21, 2014 josie beail
Dec 21, 2014 Arlynn Liebster Terrifying an animal is not entertainment. It is completely unacceptable to teach children animal abuse.

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