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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: 52,587
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 4, 2015 Laura Berry
May 4, 2015 Agata Konecka-Baller
May 4, 2015 licelia rivera
May 4, 2015 Sarah Clayton
May 3, 2015 tia smith
May 3, 2015 Birgitt Böhm URGENT!!!!
May 3, 2015 Bethany Bradshaw
May 3, 2015 Danielle Autullo
May 3, 2015 Alice Sather
May 3, 2015 Jim Schumann
May 3, 2015 Lucia Nocentini
May 3, 2015 Patricia Shaw
May 2, 2015 rose rauch
May 2, 2015 Jacqueline Schalk
May 2, 2015 (Name not displayed) Why not let everyone enjoy the event people and animals too
May 2, 2015 Stephanie Sandberg
May 2, 2015 Joani Kirchgessner
May 2, 2015 Karen Trainor
May 1, 2015 Sandra Jesionek This is a barbaric practice and must stop!
May 1, 2015 Darlene TerMarsch Please put a stop to this. It is cruel, abusive and horrifying for these poor defenseless animals.
May 1, 2015 jeanine mielke
May 1, 2015 Penny Gregorich
May 1, 2015 Rebecca DuPre
May 1, 2015 masumi shirai
May 1, 2015 Carl Fernand
May 1, 2015 simone grant
Apr 30, 2015 Suzanne Ellen
Apr 30, 2015 Dayana Viscarra
Apr 30, 2015 jackie johnston
Apr 30, 2015 Karen Schulze Barbaric.
Apr 30, 2015 Lucilene Willmersdorf
Apr 30, 2015 Vicki Jaynes
Apr 30, 2015 Jessica Charpentier
Apr 30, 2015 Susan Tate
Apr 30, 2015 debbie small
Apr 30, 2015 Sara Serrano
Apr 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 29, 2015 Karen Foster Really. Used a stuffed one. We need to evolve people.
Apr 29, 2015 Paul Mills Sick.... People in groups are a scary thing where a mob mentality can emerge, nothing more dangerous than that and indeference to animal suffering.
Apr 29, 2015 Anna Pukhlimskaya
Apr 29, 2015 Lynn Jessup Totally inhumane and insane!! Drop pumpkins, watermelons, or water balloons--but never a living, breathing animal! The cruelty will come back upon those who cruelly treat people and animals so callously.
Apr 29, 2015 Linda Traylor
Apr 28, 2015 Mary Burt
Apr 28, 2015 judith weed
Apr 28, 2015 Milada Ladiova
Apr 28, 2015 Jeanne Bruno
Apr 28, 2015 lena fribing
Apr 27, 2015 Jill Razzano Oh my God! Stop this inhumane activity!
Apr 27, 2015 Felishia Long

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