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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: 59,036
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

Aug 4, 2015 Chiara Hauer
Aug 4, 2015 Karen Sprague I can't believe what some people do for "entertainment."
Aug 4, 2015 Annette Rosolini
Aug 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 4, 2015 Brigitte Voisine Please, do what you can to convince your colleagues and your constituents that SL 2014-7 is a shameful law and needs repealed immediately.
Aug 4, 2015 Cecilia Rivas
Aug 4, 2015 carol scott awful, cruel and unnecessary.please stop.this is not right and its certainly not entertainment. its sick
Aug 4, 2015 Valerie Silver THis is not entertainment, it is cruelty.
Aug 4, 2015 Camilla Prosise
Aug 4, 2015 Rebecca Douglas
Aug 4, 2015 Stacey boyd
Aug 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 4, 2015 marilena zubani
Aug 4, 2015 shawn takada
Aug 3, 2015 Johnathan Padilla
Aug 3, 2015 Denise Hanson
Aug 3, 2015 Sharon Braswell Stop The Possum Drop! It is animal cruelty masquerading as entertainment!
Aug 3, 2015 Eva Terry
Aug 3, 2015 Cheryl Blum
Aug 3, 2015 Diane Kelley Please continue to stand for compassion and decency against this backwards, cruel behavior.
Aug 3, 2015 Linda Slabenak
Aug 3, 2015 Stacy Weills
Aug 3, 2015 Annette West
Aug 3, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 3, 2015 Maria Cristina Arthur
Aug 3, 2015 Cheri Miller
Aug 3, 2015 Lisa Snyder
Aug 3, 2015 Pearl Bishop Who ever came up with such a moron idea to use live opossums in New Year's celebration. Humans are suppose to be the most intelligent species on this earth. Look at what they have done to it. Animals get my respect more than any human.
Aug 3, 2015 Kimberly langdale
Aug 3, 2015 ralph packard
Aug 3, 2015 Elaine Whitefield
Aug 3, 2015 Patti Johnson
Aug 3, 2015 Dawn Hansen
Aug 3, 2015 Debra Bontrager No votes for those who support animal cruelty!
Aug 3, 2015 victoria fabian
Aug 3, 2015 Melissa Masters
Aug 3, 2015 Elsa Mery Soto Only cowards harm innocent beings for entertainment!
Aug 3, 2015 Josie Farinaccio
Aug 3, 2015 Barb Sudermann
Aug 3, 2015 Laurie Forbes
Aug 3, 2015 Shari Lewis
Aug 3, 2015 (Name not displayed) Shame on you! Your behavior does not become you or your State. Your parents would not be proud.
Aug 3, 2015 (Name not displayed) Horrible!!! Where is mercy???
Aug 3, 2015 alice caldwell
Aug 3, 2015 Susanne Kanzler
Aug 3, 2015 Angela Watson
Aug 3, 2015 john desiderio
Aug 3, 2015 Baagheera An
Aug 3, 2015 Margaret Sober
Aug 3, 2015 (Name not displayed)

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