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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: 50,352
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 22, 2014 Jernej Gradišek
Dec 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 22, 2014 carole hagen
Dec 22, 2014 Elaine Tait
Dec 22, 2014 Victoria Beaudette
Dec 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 22, 2014 Noor Janssens
Dec 22, 2014 Karen Janssens
Dec 22, 2014 Leisa Baumann
Dec 21, 2014 Leanne Swetland ...enough with animal cruelty already! Get a hobby that doesn't involve killing something....
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 shannon williams
Dec 21, 2014 Patricia Christie
Dec 21, 2014 Teresa Groves Seriously? This is a wee bit on the primitive and/or redneck side, don't you think?
Dec 21, 2014 Diane Stewart
Dec 21, 2014 Hazal Gursoy
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) This is so barbaric.
Dec 21, 2014 Fred Vidrequin
Dec 21, 2014 Deanna Clifford That is just cruel and disgusting.
Dec 21, 2014 Misti Taylor
Dec 21, 2014 DES MAINARDI
Dec 21, 2014 Joanna Cadorette
Dec 21, 2014 Alyssa Zulueta
Dec 21, 2014 Jennifer Orson
Dec 21, 2014 Tom Harvie
Dec 21, 2014 Abigail Arletto Completely unethical and disgusting. Is this what passes for "fun" in NC?
Dec 21, 2014 maureen roche
Dec 21, 2014 Lauren DeFoto
Dec 21, 2014 nancy djemant This is Horrendous crulty!
Dec 21, 2014 Laureen Jewell
Dec 21, 2014 Joanne Madrid
Dec 21, 2014 Jessica Dwyer What a disgusting, disgraceful excuse for 'entertainment.' I can hardly believe this 'event' exists. STOP THIS CRUELTY NOW. Truly appalling, evil behavior that is not OK.
Dec 21, 2014 BRANDEE ADAMS
Dec 21, 2014 christie layton
Dec 21, 2014 Rochelle Pendleton
Dec 21, 2014 Elizabeth Codner
Dec 21, 2014 Judith Scroggin
Dec 21, 2014 Sara Oberman Please have compassion for the LIVE creature you are using as entertainment. Stop the possum drop now and forever.
Dec 21, 2014 Lin Sunseri
Dec 21, 2014 Lucy Quigan-C-Roberts Seriously, how can this been seen as fun!!!! anyone who thinks this is fine should look at the documented studies done on those that do!
Dec 21, 2014 Doreen Federoff This must stop!
Dec 21, 2014 Daisy Jimenez
Dec 21, 2014 Wendy Lawrence
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Dulcie Camp
Dec 21, 2014 Hank Watson
Dec 21, 2014 amandine piedvache
Dec 21, 2014 Melanie Lewis Disgusting! Come on!
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed) THIS IS JUST SICK !

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