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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: 59,277
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 29, 2015 linda c boyd
Aug 29, 2015 Germana Pimentel
Aug 29, 2015 Debra Ryan This is fun????!!!!!!! What's the mattter with you and what lessons to you want to teach children. Cruelty????
Aug 29, 2015 Joanne Wells
Aug 29, 2015 Sherry Soobotin
Aug 29, 2015 Amanda Ault
Aug 29, 2015 Sylvia Allen
Aug 29, 2015 Rosemary Spann
Aug 29, 2015 (Name not displayed) The time is now . Protect ALL wildlife, plant life and human life.
Aug 28, 2015 Emily Hanson
Aug 28, 2015 Megan Robinson
Aug 28, 2015 Alexis Brotzman
Aug 28, 2015 kim broderick
Aug 28, 2015 Patricia Moorehead
Aug 28, 2015 sandi nelson
Aug 28, 2015 Regina Alesso
Aug 28, 2015 C Crane
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Melanie Angelloz
Aug 27, 2015 pat glew
Aug 27, 2015 Anny Linares
Aug 27, 2015 Chittaranjan Reddy
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Shea L. Hales
Aug 27, 2015 Ed Kreczko
Aug 27, 2015 A Stewart
Aug 27, 2015 lisa johnson
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Kay Long
Aug 27, 2015 Alma R. Lopez
Aug 27, 2015 maurizio slanzi
Aug 26, 2015 Carmen Calleja
Aug 26, 2015 Deepa Ravi
Aug 26, 2015 Robin Mccreary
Aug 26, 2015 bonnie liakas
Aug 26, 2015 Tina Sabourin
Aug 26, 2015 Nancy Horner
Aug 26, 2015 Laura Marquez
Aug 26, 2015 kristi ellenberger
Aug 26, 2015 N T
Aug 26, 2015 Crvena Sonja
Aug 26, 2015 Nataly T
Aug 26, 2015 priya khurana
Aug 26, 2015 Marsha McIntire
Aug 26, 2015 Natalija Trajkovic
Aug 26, 2015 Katarina DURJAK
Aug 25, 2015 Lisa Maines
Aug 25, 2015 Rachel Van Dinter
Aug 25, 2015 Sue Hall
Aug 25, 2015 janet sifers

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