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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: 50,962
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

Jan 25, 2015 Yvonne Muentener
Jan 25, 2015 Michael Mccurdy
Jan 25, 2015 Karen Kasza "Stop Possom Drop"
Jan 25, 2015 Margareth Ruffell
Jan 25, 2015 Gordana Panic
Jan 25, 2015 Holly Bachman
Jan 25, 2015 Alida Gertz
Jan 25, 2015 David Morfitt
Jan 25, 2015 michelle gibson
Jan 25, 2015 Jacqueline Clement
Jan 25, 2015 Wynne Jones
Jan 25, 2015 Joan Payton Animal cruelty. You should be ashamed of yourselves!
Jan 25, 2015 lisa sherman
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) This is shameful. Unfortunately, government officials have a tendency to hide immoral, unethical, and wrong within the guise of fun, good, and economical growth
Jan 25, 2015 Danielle Curran
Jan 25, 2015 Donna Jones This is animal cruelty and a horrible display for children to witness!
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Danielle Bartlett
Jan 25, 2015 joyce reynolds
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Barbara Helmly
Jan 25, 2015 Jocelyn Hay
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) 😢😢😢
Jan 25, 2015 kelsey stevenson
Jan 25, 2015 Diane Carson Abuse of live animals is not entertainment. Do not teach children to torture animals for run of it. Cruel and need to stop totally, forever.
Jan 25, 2015 Shannon VanArsdall
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) This is barbaric practices that should be banned forever. Let us have respect for ALL living things.
Jan 25, 2015 Susan Hannon
Jan 25, 2015 J S DESIDERI He who is cruel to animals is permanently scarred; with no love for any one or any thing. Life without love is like blackened ash; drifting, empty, and non-productive. It is a small step between cruelty to animals and cruelty to children (other humans).
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 diane mulhern
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed) Hurting animals in the name of entertainment needs to stop!
Jan 25, 2015 Kristine Hilbert
Jan 25, 2015 Brouette Sylvie
Jan 25, 2015 Lynn Bullock oh, for god's sake -- really????? -- stop this insanity -- we're in the 21st century -- anyone notice that?
Jan 25, 2015 Jeanna McLellan This event must not be permitted.
Jan 25, 2015 Deborah Schaefer
Jan 25, 2015 Gabby Stern
Jan 25, 2015 Marge wood The world is full of stupid people!
Jan 25, 2015 Susan Koagel
Jan 25, 2015 jeanne schreurs
Jan 25, 2015 Angie Merriam
Jan 25, 2015 Cassidy Shaffer
Jan 25, 2015 cathy white
Jan 25, 2015 Leslie Patterson
Jan 25, 2015 Tom Kozel
Jan 25, 2015 sandye gier
Jan 25, 2015 Isabela Calin
Jan 25, 2015 Yasiu Kruszynski

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