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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: 58,824
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

Jul 27, 2015 Véronick DARRACQ
Jul 27, 2015 spetz marie-claude
Jul 27, 2015 Isabelle Ridon
Jul 27, 2015 Fumiko Sakoda
Jul 27, 2015 john martin Opossums invented 'playing possum' because they are so afraid of confrontation, so to the 'people' who hurt them please stop now
Jul 27, 2015 Helmuth Glutzberger
Jul 27, 2015 Monneron Sophie
Jul 27, 2015 vida fritz
Jul 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 27, 2015 LIONEL BRAY
Jul 27, 2015 Danièle SAUVET
Jul 27, 2015 Debra Bean What is WRONG with you people in NC?!
Jul 27, 2015 Michele Chapellier
Jul 27, 2015 magalie amiot
Jul 27, 2015 charline amiot
Jul 26, 2015 Christine Puy
Jul 26, 2015 Karen Liska
Jul 26, 2015 Liz Smith
Jul 26, 2015 Edward Owens
Jul 26, 2015 d'orlando viviane
Jul 26, 2015 tamara eis
Jul 26, 2015 Florence prieur
Jul 26, 2015 Donna Davidge Please allow innocent wildlife to be in its natural habitat - not traumatized at the hands of unfeeling humans- horrific treatment of an innocent creature..please stop this insensitive event.
Jul 26, 2015 Julie Barbier
Jul 26, 2015 elga Nely
Jul 26, 2015 marie galia
Jul 26, 2015 rey victor
Jul 26, 2015 Sophie Emy
Jul 26, 2015 le ruyet sylvie
Jul 26, 2015 Carles Lucie
Jul 26, 2015 NADIA BOUDART
Jul 26, 2015 anne marie benechet Stop au opossum Drop, pratique cruelle et barbare
Jul 26, 2015 Sylviane GRESSLER
Jul 26, 2015 nathalie demeulemeester
Jul 26, 2015 Marcel Balmat
Jul 26, 2015 barret flavie
Jul 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 26, 2015 Angela Root
Jul 26, 2015 merel jean-françois
Jul 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) Touts les animaux ont le droit à la vie sur cette terre elle leurs appartient autant qu à nous.
Jul 26, 2015 brigitte simard
Jul 26, 2015 Annick LOUVET
Jul 26, 2015 Marianne LOUVET
Jul 26, 2015 jean claude LOUVET
Jul 26, 2015 sophie ferraris
Jul 26, 2015 ferrand Sandra
Jul 26, 2015 Laurence Vanmeerbeeck
Jul 26, 2015 Saville Marie pierre
Jul 26, 2015 carrie mahoney

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