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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: 49,655
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


Nov 29, 2014 Elizabeth Lee awful to do this to a poor opossum!
Nov 28, 2014 Cindy Mitchell
Nov 28, 2014 CATHERIINE Dyer Stop the cruelty now!
Nov 28, 2014 DAWN BERRETT
Nov 28, 2014 Lesley Marson
Nov 28, 2014 Sharon Purcell-Cuautle
Nov 28, 2014 Emily Shaw
Nov 28, 2014 Ricardo Cottrell
Nov 28, 2014 Cyndi Overhulse
Nov 28, 2014 Thomas Pacheco
Nov 28, 2014 butch moto WHERE IS THE HUMANITY IN THE CAROLINAS??
Nov 28, 2014 R Maca
Nov 28, 2014 Amanda Harris
Nov 28, 2014 vera sadkovsky
Nov 28, 2014 Renee King
Nov 28, 2014 dominique frutos
Nov 28, 2014 Charlotte Johansen
Nov 28, 2014 sue & ed drake
Nov 28, 2014 Donna D We have become so desensitized to the welfare of animals. Please repeal SL 2014-7.
Nov 28, 2014 Sandra Fox Cruel, and definitely NOT entertainment, if you think so, SHAME ON YOU.
Nov 28, 2014 Jolie Avenia
Nov 28, 2014 Susan Austen Stop this now
Nov 28, 2014 celeste Machristie mankin
Nov 28, 2014 Camie Rodgers
Nov 28, 2014 Beverly Crawford
Nov 28, 2014 Barbara Higgs
Nov 28, 2014 (Name not displayed) use MOLDED plastic or carved wood possums and put someone to work
Nov 28, 2014 Diana Dillon-Smith
Nov 28, 2014 Cynthia Rosmus
Nov 27, 2014 Debby Rand
Nov 27, 2014 Maria Webb DO NOT do that
Nov 27, 2014 Diane Pires Possum Drop? How about serving a charity that day, beautifying a park, feeding the homeless to celebrate New Year's instead of torturing a wild animal?
Nov 27, 2014 kim walsh
Nov 27, 2014 Frankie Seyour
Nov 27, 2014 Janet Toepfer What is wrong with us that torturing an animal is considered entertainment?
Nov 27, 2014 Norm Seavey Make This A Felony Cruelty Animal Offense With A Minimum 10 Year Prison Offense For First Time Offenders.
Nov 27, 2014 Ea Eilimo
Nov 27, 2014 lorrie gore
Nov 27, 2014 Shannon Shields
Nov 27, 2014 Nancy Hoff
Nov 27, 2014 Janice Elton
Nov 27, 2014 Marie Firestone
Nov 26, 2014 Janie Carabello
Nov 26, 2014 linda crowell stop animal cruelty
Nov 26, 2014 Marta Feio
Nov 26, 2014 Ann Marie Sardineer
Nov 26, 2014 Judith Grezaffi I just don't get the caveman mentality. This poor, innocent little creature doesn't deserve this.
Nov 26, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 26, 2014 Kristy Russell
Nov 26, 2014 Leisa Simpson

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