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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: 50,128
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.

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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.

Sincerely,

(The Undersigned)

Petition Signatures


Dec 17, 2014 Pamela York
Dec 17, 2014 Pauline Mendoza
Dec 17, 2014 Karen Sands What are these people thinking?
Dec 17, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 17, 2014 Sandra Marciante
Dec 17, 2014 Tena Hetzel This is about as INHUMANE as it gets!!!!!!
Dec 17, 2014 michele huber
Dec 17, 2014 Sanja Božić
Dec 17, 2014 adele orsini we are their voice.....
Dec 17, 2014 Danielle hill
Dec 17, 2014 Arlene Naranjo
Dec 17, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 16, 2014 Deanna Gentle
Dec 16, 2014 teagan hill
Dec 16, 2014 Lola Rodriguez
Dec 16, 2014 Lynn Weeks
Dec 16, 2014 Natasha Gonzalez
Dec 16, 2014 Caroline La Fleche
Dec 16, 2014 MARCIA LONGO
Dec 16, 2014 Lynn Allen
Dec 16, 2014 sanja lalic
Dec 16, 2014 agnes van galen
Dec 15, 2014 Darlene Skura
Dec 15, 2014 Brandi Bell
Dec 15, 2014 mirtha velez
Dec 15, 2014 Kristen Balinrude
Dec 15, 2014 Evelyn Reynolds
Dec 15, 2014 Jessica Edwards
Dec 15, 2014 susan munro
Dec 15, 2014 Katherine Hernandez
Dec 15, 2014 emily mcalpine
Dec 15, 2014 Caroline Harris wickedly evil
Dec 15, 2014 Linda Phelan
Dec 15, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 15, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 14, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 14, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 14, 2014 Ron Steiner Get a life you losers! The possum is not going to get hurt during the drop.
Dec 14, 2014 RT Thompson please stop this abuse!
Dec 14, 2014 marla reiner this is cruel and should not happen we do not need to teach our kids abuse is alright. We need to educate the public to be compassionate when sharing our earth. With all its creatures and protect our wildlife.
Dec 14, 2014 Shirley Thomas Stop this- it is animal cruelty & barbaric!!!
Dec 14, 2014 frebet franca
Dec 14, 2014 Andrea Deckard
Dec 14, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 14, 2014 Michelle Gaul
Dec 14, 2014 Yvonne Morgan Stop the possum drop and all animal abuse
Dec 14, 2014 rhonda campbell
Dec 14, 2014 Karen Kulakowski
Dec 14, 2014 Jennifer Hillary
Dec 14, 2014 jennifer hoof

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