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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: 48,579
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

Oct 30, 2014 Shannon Blea
Oct 30, 2014 Pam Gigous
Oct 30, 2014 Rijkea Lammertse Stop this idiot cruelty now!
Oct 30, 2014 Elaine Doe
Oct 30, 2014 NICK DUNSTAN
Oct 30, 2014 Conni Wireman I'm so disappointed in the casual cruelty of this so-called celebration, I'll insure that I don't spend any of my dollars in the great state of North Carolina!!!
Oct 30, 2014 Juliet Chaplin
Oct 30, 2014 Carol Long
Oct 30, 2014 Heather Tucker
Oct 30, 2014 drvipul dave
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 julia nylin blixter
Oct 30, 2014 Elena Popkova
Oct 30, 2014 Grace Gorelick
Oct 30, 2014 Tina Louise Albrecht
Oct 30, 2014 Paula Cooper
Oct 30, 2014 Donna Hamilton
Oct 30, 2014 heidi rodriguez
Oct 29, 2014 Roberta Gentile
Oct 29, 2014 susan mazey
Oct 29, 2014 Heather Romero Anyone that can drop an innocent living being deserves to be dropped themselves. Every life deserves peace
Oct 29, 2014 Keith Beam
Oct 29, 2014 Sharon Schulenberg
Oct 29, 2014 Tom Finholt Save the forests and possums and deer.
Oct 29, 2014 JOHN MANION
Oct 29, 2014 Roseanne Flynn
Oct 29, 2014 Sherrie Rozniecki
Oct 29, 2014 Christine Martin
Oct 29, 2014 liliane DI PAOLO
Oct 29, 2014 Caisey Hoffman
Oct 29, 2014 Patricia Radder
Oct 29, 2014 hanh doan
Oct 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 29, 2014 Christiane Santos
Oct 29, 2014 Lesle Bonds
Oct 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 29, 2014 Pascal Roux
Oct 29, 2014 Jamie Palombo This is totally cruel and inhumane. Really! People do this for entertainment. What is wrong with people?!
Oct 29, 2014 Barbara Holmes
Oct 29, 2014 joanne lockhart
Oct 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 29, 2014 Denise Abel
Oct 29, 2014 KIMBERLY BEDNARCIK This is so appalling that I am left speechless! Please stop this barbaric practice.
Oct 29, 2014 Jennifer King What a shameful act to knowingly violate animal rights.
Oct 29, 2014 linda ventriglia
Oct 29, 2014 eva schalin
Oct 28, 2014 Hailey Lorino
Oct 28, 2014 sarah taylor
Oct 28, 2014 emily beech
Oct 28, 2014 Katherine Proulx

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