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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: 52,884
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

May 30, 2015 Karen Stanley
May 29, 2015 w. baus Please do not allow this 'possum drop' cruelty! It teaches people that cruelty to animals and all who are defenseless is OK if it's fun!
May 29, 2015 Patricia Compton RN
May 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 29, 2015 m kent
May 29, 2015 Lion Hesse “Animals, as part of God’s creation, have rights which must be respected. It behooves us always to be sensitive to their needs and to the reality of their pain.”—Dr. Donald Coggan, former Archbishop of Canterbury
May 29, 2015 roberto penaherrera
May 29, 2015 Leonilde Carvalho
May 29, 2015 Timothy Gilmore What else can you expect from a Republicanazi slave state, like North Carolina?
May 29, 2015 Ruth Marin
May 29, 2015 patricia woods
May 28, 2015 laurence haubtmann
May 28, 2015 Selena Millman
May 28, 2015 beverly dunn
May 28, 2015 Christine Burkman
May 28, 2015 sandra houghton
May 28, 2015 Hilary Elder
May 27, 2015 Valli Gent
May 27, 2015 Liana Alecu
May 27, 2015 Petra tuccino-polukord
May 27, 2015 marie grenu
May 27, 2015 Art Khachatrian
May 27, 2015 Linda Marshall
May 27, 2015 Pamela Reckers
May 27, 2015 Sharon Bowen
May 27, 2015 j caspers intentionally harming animals for entertainment is ANIMAL ABUSE YOU MORONS. Time to grow up!
May 27, 2015 ria konings
May 27, 2015 Andrea Jaeger
May 27, 2015 Michaela Schmidt
May 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 27, 2015 Sarah Dolar
May 27, 2015 (Name not displayed) I can't believe that anyone finds this cruel practice. Karma exists.
May 27, 2015 Kris McClain
May 27, 2015 Maria Landsberg
May 27, 2015 christel kirstein
May 27, 2015 Laura Poore
May 27, 2015 Denise Ziegler
May 27, 2015 Shelly Van Lanen
May 27, 2015 Dianne Sutherland
May 27, 2015 Paul-Denis Clermont
May 27, 2015 christopher rohland Why would anyone do this?
May 27, 2015 Catherine Kisluk This is for entertainment? That’s really sick! Please stop this inhumane treatment of God’s creatures NOW!
May 27, 2015 monique ligat
May 27, 2015 Janine McFarlane Animals should never be abused for the 'entertainment' of humans! This is disgusting!
May 27, 2015 Sherry La Trasse
May 27, 2015 Tammy Shenkel
May 26, 2015 Richard Schulte
May 26, 2015 Ashley Hovater

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