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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: 48,406
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 21, 2014 Jennifer Severance
Oct 21, 2014 R. Denis Cole
Oct 21, 2014 Andrea Jensen
Oct 21, 2014 Claudia Nunez Please, do what you can to convince your colleagues and your constituents that SL 2014-7 is a shameful law and needs repealed immediatel
Oct 21, 2014 Kathryn Gallo
Oct 21, 2014 C.S. Pennington This is barbaric. I am sickened by it. What kind of person thinks this is fun?
Oct 21, 2014 Ortwin Mergner
Oct 21, 2014 Julia Petersen
Oct 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2014 Tammy Weaver
Oct 21, 2014 Heidi Jarratt
Oct 21, 2014 Roni Friedman
Oct 20, 2014 Eileen Greenberg
Oct 20, 2014 Holly Eve Genovese
Oct 20, 2014 Velann Andersen
Oct 20, 2014 Stefanie Lopez
Oct 20, 2014 angie granados
Oct 20, 2014 Meghan Trew
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 20, 2014 Rebecca Stevens How can this possibly be a family event? How about we start dropping people? Then maybe these idiots would not think its so great. I seriously have lost all hope for the human kind.
Oct 20, 2014 Susan Joyce For god sake stop this. Terrorising an animal at any time of the year is NOT entertainment - it's just plain sick!
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) Stop animal cruelty
Oct 20, 2014 Maggie Gaines
Oct 20, 2014 Hideka Tokai
Oct 20, 2014 Connie Vejen
Oct 20, 2014 tonya stiffler
Oct 20, 2014 Julie Doyle Let's dangle humans over anything and see if they like it! Crazy and should be stopped..
Oct 20, 2014 DANA SCHULER
Oct 20, 2014 liisa mikkelsen
Oct 20, 2014 Amelia Olsen
Oct 20, 2014 Julie Gondar The fact that this bill only exempts the animal between the dates of Dec 26 and Jan 6 says to me that the majority of people realize this is a cruel event the other days of the year. There is no reason to continue this 'tradition'.
Oct 20, 2014 Amber Secoolish Do I really need to explain what is wrong with his? All I can say is how disappointing some(allot) of humanities lack of evolving rears its ugly head more often then not at the expense of another living creature. They are plan and simple Neanderthals!!
Oct 20, 2014 Eric Horwitz
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) This is the wrong message to send to children and should never be encouraged
Oct 20, 2014 D D SMITH
Oct 20, 2014 nancy reppe
Oct 20, 2014 Steven Gordon
Oct 20, 2014 Anne Harvey No wonder this town is dying.
Oct 20, 2014 Leanne Kones I'm ashamed to call myself human
Oct 20, 2014 melissa skye
Oct 20, 2014 Amanda Warwick
Oct 19, 2014 Ellen Gaston I hope Roger West dies in a car wreck. Asshole.
Oct 19, 2014 Rhonda Baker
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed) terrifying this little animal for fun...sounds like bullying to me. Is that what we want to teach the next generation? Please stop!
Oct 19, 2014 Gloria Soto
Oct 19, 2014 linda creech
Oct 19, 2014 Maud Morin
Oct 19, 2014 Dave Halligan
Oct 19, 2014 Carole Reed Animal cruelty cannot be defended under the guise of entertainment. This behavior can also be viewed as stupidity performed by unknowingly foolish people.

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