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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: 51,003
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 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 26, 2015 Marilyn Bush
Jan 26, 2015 Veronika Olivier
Jan 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) Thoughtless & Cruel !
Jan 26, 2015 R Traci Kowal Almost daily, I'm reminded by events such as these, that the "Human" Race has much farther to go in order to become a fully civilized society. Why not put a human in that cage? Too dangerous? Ridiculous.
Jan 26, 2015 Gayle Bloem
Jan 26, 2015 Lissa Wathen
Jan 26, 2015 stephanie krueger
Jan 26, 2015 Ava Whetton any form of cruelty must be banned if we are ever going to have a clear conscious and find Peace
Jan 26, 2015 ineke kwekkeboom
Jan 26, 2015 geraint morgans
Jan 26, 2015 Carol Kaito "To be human is not a fact, but a task.". Condoning animal mistreatment indirectly condones all forms of violence against all living creatures. Apparently, NC is so primitive that animal cruelty is "family friendly".
Jan 25, 2015 Judith Fleming
Jan 25, 2015 Barbara Gladfelter
Jan 25, 2015 Erin Cooper
Jan 25, 2015 Steven Suiter
Jan 25, 2015 Janina Grage
Jan 25, 2015 Katrina Smathers Please stop the Opossum drop forever!
Jan 25, 2015 Dan A. Opossum are my favorite animal. Please help this wonderful, smartly instinctive, especially under appreciated animal.
Jan 25, 2015 Louisa Fedosenko
Jan 25, 2015 Gerry Cooper
Jan 25, 2015 Patricia Varanai
Jan 25, 2015 Barbara Meadows despicable...
Jan 25, 2015 Julie Jackson
Jan 25, 2015 Linda Hays
Jan 25, 2015 Geneine Payne
Jan 25, 2015 Sharon Acuff Please, stop the cruelty to opossums. Being cruel to any animal isn't, and shouldn't be intertainment.
Jan 25, 2015 Melanie S
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Victoria Rose There are still people who enjoy being cruel to animals.
Jan 25, 2015 Susan Smith
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 25, 2015 Laure Coutier
Jan 25, 2015 kim leone Animal cruelty is never ok.
Jan 25, 2015 randy lute
Jan 25, 2015 judy doonan
Jan 25, 2015 Barbara Deputy
Jan 25, 2015 p mcinnis
Jan 25, 2015 cheryl woodford
Jan 25, 2015 Wolfgang Daum
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

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