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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: 50,919
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

Jan 25, 2015 Cassidy Shaffer
Jan 25, 2015 cathy white
Jan 25, 2015 Leslie Patterson
Jan 25, 2015 Tom Kozel
Jan 25, 2015 sandye gier
Jan 25, 2015 Isabela Calin
Jan 25, 2015 Yasiu Kruszynski
Jan 25, 2015 leah choquette
Jan 25, 2015 Ria Rock Please STOP this Now! Its so cruel
Jan 25, 2015 karen murphy
Jan 25, 2015 Earline Gowens
Jan 25, 2015 Linda Balanda
Jan 25, 2015 Anna Pistuddi
Jan 25, 2015 angela ward Using any kind of animal for entertainment is just cruel..you wouldn't like it..Yea well they don't either!
Jan 25, 2015 Mendy Harris
Jan 25, 2015 I. Schuite
Jan 25, 2015 Amelia Tennant
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) Please don't let this happen anymore. It's not fun or funny ... it's barbaric.
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) Please stop The Opossum Drop immediately
Jan 25, 2015 Cheryl Wommer
Jan 25, 2015 Cathy Bassett
Jan 25, 2015 Marina Gullstrand
Jan 25, 2015 Tony Rönnbäck
Jan 25, 2015 Regina Robinson
Jan 25, 2015 P. Ott
Jan 25, 2015 Ann Alspaugh
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Sue Ellen Lupien Please stop this inhumane practice
Jan 25, 2015 Kristine Range Time to change tradition, get with the times. You can easily put a replica as a stand in, and everyone will still have fun. I, myself would never attend this event knowing that there is a live creature being scared to death for entertainment purposes.
Jan 25, 2015 Janet Lindsey
Jan 25, 2015 Cristina McBeath
Jan 25, 2015 Sharon Deuel People who do things like this need to suffer the same way!!!!
Jan 25, 2015 patty white
Jan 25, 2015 piera mengoni
Jan 25, 2015 Laurie Cupp
Jan 25, 2015 Lenise Mitchell
Jan 25, 2015 Julie Jaeckel
Jan 25, 2015 Eva Hiwan Abraha
Jan 25, 2015 Michael Hussey Animal cruely for entertainment is disgusting.
Jan 25, 2015 Gloria Straight
Jan 25, 2015 Yvonne cox Wildlife are not owned by us, we need to respect our wildlife and care for it.
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Vickie Vaughn
Jan 25, 2015 Wes H.
Jan 25, 2015 Laura Santos
Jan 25, 2015 jan klingberg
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) Common sense does not prevail....Stupid people
Jan 25, 2015 Djellza Rasimi
Jan 25, 2015 Lyn Grabowski This is not how American society should be portrayed. Mindless thugs and blatant animal cruelty. This must stop!

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