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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: 52,535
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

Apr 27, 2015 Jo Ann Beatty
Apr 27, 2015 Eva Komendo
Apr 27, 2015 Mary Virginia Dorfman
Apr 26, 2015 jeffery taylor Everyone should be signing this to help the innocent animals.
Apr 26, 2015 Andrea Kendall
Apr 26, 2015 alex armstrong
Apr 26, 2015 Christine Loop
Apr 26, 2015 Becky Reavis
Apr 26, 2015 Robert Terrell
Apr 25, 2015 L Ryan
Apr 25, 2015 Elsie Jump This is not a celebration but pure evil.
Apr 25, 2015 Jill Smith
Apr 25, 2015 anna Halkiadis
Apr 25, 2015 Melissa Voland
Apr 25, 2015 heather taheny
Apr 25, 2015 brown richard Barbaric and dated celebration in a civilised modern country...this must stop!!
Apr 24, 2015 K. Schultz.
Apr 24, 2015 Kathie Boley
Apr 24, 2015 jill hodson
Apr 24, 2015 Kathleen Lahti If people are still too ignorant to realize what is cruel to animals, then we need laws to protect all opossums, not just ones that do not have permits to drop them. To not have compassion for all living beings sets a bad example for our youth.
Apr 24, 2015 LAURA HART
Apr 24, 2015 Sallie ONeill
Apr 24, 2015 Natalie Beatty
Apr 24, 2015 Nicholette Ronga
Apr 24, 2015 helen withnell
Apr 24, 2015 Francisco Carvalho
Apr 24, 2015 Lauren Moch
Apr 24, 2015 Karen Morris
Apr 24, 2015 Lesley Thomas
Apr 24, 2015 Shani Baker
Apr 24, 2015 sveta shelekhova
Apr 24, 2015 Heather Rinaldi
Apr 24, 2015 Karen Multer
Apr 24, 2015 Susan Arkin
Apr 24, 2015 Kylie Reinhardt
Apr 24, 2015 Renee Mayar
Apr 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2015 Carla Lamoureux
Apr 23, 2015 taylor parksion
Apr 23, 2015 Deborah Magana
Apr 23, 2015 J Irons
Apr 23, 2015 Jan Phillips
Apr 23, 2015 Ashley Waller
Apr 22, 2015 M Steiman
Apr 22, 2015 Julie Briggs
Apr 22, 2015 Brenda Hillstrand
Apr 22, 2015 Sara Leonard
Apr 22, 2015 Eric Wells
Apr 22, 2015 Lise Rapaport
Apr 22, 2015 Adina Ioana Iancu

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