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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: 51,886
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

Mar 6, 2015 c c
Mar 6, 2015 valerie pelletier
Mar 5, 2015 Denise VanSickle All lives are precious, who are we to take that away from anything?
Mar 5, 2015 ayako makishita
Mar 5, 2015 Jordan Parmenter
Mar 5, 2015 fulvio cessari
Mar 4, 2015 Ann Hagström
Mar 4, 2015 Pamela Unger
Mar 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 4, 2015 William Reamy This is not entertainment; it is animal abuse.
Mar 4, 2015 Mara Mandell
Mar 4, 2015 Linda McEachron-Taylor
Mar 4, 2015 ashley bartley
Mar 4, 2015 Robert Leith The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by how it's animals are treated---Gandhi
Mar 4, 2015 Sandra Stofan
Mar 4, 2015 Mary Hatzigiannis
Mar 4, 2015 K. Zak Unacceptable! This is NOT family friendly. It is cruel and barbaric.
Mar 4, 2015 pamela guyon
Mar 4, 2015 Kim Summers
Mar 4, 2015 Darci Halloran Children should not see and participate in this hostility and torture of innocent animals.
Mar 4, 2015 johnnie thompson
Mar 4, 2015 Angela Wierig
Mar 3, 2015 Bill Schuler
Mar 3, 2015 (Name not displayed) This is not right! No animal should be treated with this cruelty.
Mar 3, 2015 Bonnie D. This is plain unadulterated cruelty. I worked x 14 years as a paramedic - trauma is trauma; it maims and hurts just as badly whether you're a human or an animal. Stop this wretched practice NOW!
Mar 3, 2015 Linda Rich
Mar 3, 2015 Lisa Glenn Stop animal cruelty. This is torture.
Mar 3, 2015 Barbara Miller This cruel practice MUST be stopped NOW. No living creature should be subjected to cruelity. Parents who let their children witness this breeds the future criminals of this world. This MUST be stopped.
Mar 3, 2015 Kate Linden
Mar 3, 2015 Victoria Peyser
Mar 3, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 3, 2015 Paula Eaton
Mar 3, 2015 Denine Dunston
Mar 3, 2015 Isabella Ondei
Mar 3, 2015 Ann Singer
Mar 3, 2015 Denise Perlich
Mar 3, 2015 jacqui deighton
Mar 2, 2015 chris layr
Mar 2, 2015 Carmen De anda
Mar 2, 2015 Maren Heinig
Mar 2, 2015 Eileen Miller
Mar 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 2, 2015 Jill Tarleton
Mar 2, 2015 Heidi Smith
Mar 2, 2015 jamie hanlin
Mar 2, 2015 Sarah Friedman
Mar 2, 2015 Elizabeth Munnie
Mar 2, 2015 Janet Lepanto WTF?????!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 2, 2015 Anna-maria Bell
Mar 2, 2015 Lisa Delabre

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