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December 30, 2014: Following an injunction won by PETA, the 2014/2015 Possum Drop in Brasstown, NC will not feature a live possum. This is not, however, a complete victory as the injunction requires a state permit to use a live possum. Possum Drop organizers told the Associated Press that they simply didn’t have time to get one this year. Please continue to sign and show your support for a complete end to the Possum Drop!
Goal: 75,000 Progress: 51,780
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

Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 26, 2015 Peter Johnston
Feb 26, 2015 shara kent
Feb 26, 2015 Cyntthia Wilcox _Please find a new way to celebrate this creature without causing it undo stress and hardship. This is ignorant.
Feb 26, 2015 Rebecca Torchio We are supposed to teach our kids to protect and be kind.
Feb 26, 2015 Lou Williamson
Feb 26, 2015 erica wilson
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) This is barbaric! Plain and simple.
Feb 26, 2015 Kathryn Spies Never realized the people of NC enjoys cruelty to these animals who are wild and supposed to be free. Not hunted down and tortured! Your traditions are sickening as the people responsible for letting the 'traditions' continue.
Feb 26, 2015 Patricia MacDonald Please stop this abuse!!
Feb 26, 2015 Linda Richards total ignorance and cruelty to a shy harmless WILD animal. The South will never rise again.
Feb 26, 2015 Lea Murray Please stop them from using live or dead possums. If they really care, like they claim to, they can use a stuffed animal.
Feb 26, 2015 carol bogdan
Feb 26, 2015 angie mckenzie This is cruel...It's wrong....possums are gentle creatures that deserve more respect than this. This is barbaric ...Please stop the torture!!!
Feb 26, 2015 Jeanne Kraemer
Feb 26, 2015 David Quick Please stop the cruelty of this event.
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 26, 2015 matlene sheridan
Feb 26, 2015 Cheryl Carothers Stop this madness once & for all!!!!
Feb 26, 2015 Kelly Hellmuth
Feb 26, 2015 carmen bydalek
Feb 26, 2015 c c
Feb 26, 2015 Lydia Martinez Torturing innocent animals is not entertainment. This is sick, cruel and disgusting and needs to STOP
Feb 26, 2015 Margot Treybig
Feb 26, 2015 jeanine joskin
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS ! POSSUMS ARE SWEET !
Feb 26, 2015 Kathy Gaynor
Feb 26, 2015 Chris Fowler It's so cruel!
Feb 26, 2015 jean hopkins
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 26, 2015 L Ross Why do people have to be so cruel and psycho?!? You do realize that animal cruelty is how serial killers start right?!?
Feb 26, 2015 Leilani Ellis
Feb 26, 2015 Paulette Fay
Feb 26, 2015 Robert Merker
Feb 26, 2015 Rebecca Taylor
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) torturing animals is the first sign of a serial killer, is this really how we want to portray ourselves?
Feb 26, 2015 Jean-Mare Albert
Feb 26, 2015 lynn collins Cruelty needs t stop
Feb 26, 2015 karen hilliard
Feb 26, 2015 iluska silva This cruelty must stop !!!!
Feb 26, 2015 Julia Stahl
Feb 26, 2015 Sandy Blackburn
Feb 26, 2015 Donna Hammett This is animal abuse. How can people find this entertaining? That is sick. What are you teaching our children about living breathing creatures?
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) I find it reprehensible to allow for this to occur to innocent creatures. You are promoting cruelty and showing children and humans that it's okay to kill and maim. STOP this disgusting ritual and get out of the dark ages of proforming this drop.
Feb 26, 2015 Rick Johnson Why don't the use one of the town organizers of this event. Put them in a cage dressed up as an Opossum and keep them there all day leading up to the drop.
Feb 26, 2015 margie patsko
Feb 26, 2015 dawn bullock
Feb 26, 2015 Jenifer Persuhn terrorizing a gentle, docile animal is NOT entertainment!! People see opossums as a nuisance, and do not understand how beneficial they are to all of us! This event is cruelty....nothing more than that!
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) No more of this nonsense please. How would you like it if it was a cat or dog.
Feb 26, 2015 Angelique Ingram

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