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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: 61,943
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 29, 2016 silva kruzic
Apr 29, 2016 alvin kasper
Apr 29, 2016 Laney Smith Why would u have a possum drop- we don't have a human drop and if u don't want it done to u - my guess is the possum doesn't either !!!
Apr 29, 2016 Anne Pintozzi
Apr 29, 2016 Margaret Randall
Apr 29, 2016 Sheila Tunnell I totally agree!!
Apr 29, 2016 Annette Benton
Apr 29, 2016 Diane Greer
Apr 29, 2016 Connie Muniz
Apr 28, 2016 Jay Baum
Apr 28, 2016 Christine O'Brien
Apr 28, 2016 Shirley McAlister
Apr 28, 2016 Victoria Peck
Apr 28, 2016 Lillmei Haram
Apr 27, 2016 Marisol Ackerman
Apr 27, 2016 Mary Best
Apr 27, 2016 Jessica Canan
Apr 27, 2016 Donna Ruehlow
Apr 27, 2016 Joanna Zacari
Apr 27, 2016 Andie Roblyer
Apr 27, 2016 John Watts
Apr 27, 2016 Terri OBlisk
Apr 27, 2016 Lynn Kahl I say next year, have a "Roger West Drop".
Apr 27, 2016 mary mcbride
Apr 27, 2016 Rebecca Moon-Williams
Apr 26, 2016 Pamela Didia
Apr 26, 2016 Lisa Belaski
Apr 26, 2016 Trina Case
Apr 25, 2016 Melora Jackson
Apr 25, 2016 Nancy Hitchcock
Apr 25, 2016 Cindy Dawson
Apr 25, 2016 T K Save Opossums!
Apr 25, 2016 Monika Pellegrini
Apr 24, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 24, 2016 Kathleen McQuade
Apr 23, 2016 Dee Taylor
Apr 23, 2016 beverlie newton shame on you - i cant understand why anybody would want to get involved with this cruelty.
Apr 22, 2016 Nancy Fleming
Apr 22, 2016 Ann Harlan Cruelty is NEVER okay. The fact that you deliberately wrote the bill so that this "festival" could go on makes you out to care nothing for animal rights. "A bunch of F*&#ing ignorant rednecks" would be a better description. Grow up and do the right thing.
Apr 22, 2016 sonja syne
Apr 22, 2016 Jodie Crisci
Apr 21, 2016 Katie Hitchcock
Apr 21, 2016 Ellen McCann
Apr 21, 2016 Claudio Bucci
Apr 21, 2016 Sophia du Plessis
Apr 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 21, 2016 Martina Behla
Apr 20, 2016 Andrés Aguilera
Apr 20, 2016 Teresa Wright
Apr 20, 2016 Rebecca Andrew

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