Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
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: 61,450
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

Feb 14, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 14, 2016 Patrick Manalio
Feb 14, 2016 Joan Cuplin You Must Protect Possums & Repeal SL 2014-7 Immediately!!!!!!!! This Horrifying abomination is Cruelty to Animals!!!!!!!!
Feb 14, 2016 patti barto
Feb 14, 2016 Pam Sheeler
Feb 14, 2016 Laurie Rhoads Really? This is what people do for entertainment?
Feb 13, 2016 Roger Brewer
Feb 13, 2016 Kasaundra Krumdick
Feb 13, 2016 jane wilson
Feb 13, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 13, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 12, 2016 Peggy Plummer
Feb 12, 2016 Lisa Holsonback WE HAVE LAWS FOR A REASON. THIS IS ANIMAL ABUSE. next children .. Please if your are able help .. its your job.
Feb 12, 2016 Baylee Wood
Feb 12, 2016 Brandon Danaher
Feb 12, 2016 Lawren Rudley This is so cruel and must not be allowed to continue
Feb 11, 2016 Ali Page
Feb 11, 2016 Micaela Owen
Feb 11, 2016 Janette Mejia In this day and age this is thought of as entertainment. This is just a sick way to bring in the New Year!
Feb 11, 2016 Shelley Bobb
Feb 11, 2016 Jacqueline Brown
Feb 11, 2016 anita berge
Feb 10, 2016 Maria Charu
Feb 10, 2016 Jane Wilken
Feb 10, 2016 Carolina Cox
Feb 10, 2016 Kathleen Shann
Feb 10, 2016 Laura Lewis
Feb 10, 2016 Rae Williams
Feb 9, 2016 María Jesús Calavia
Feb 9, 2016 Laura Genovese
Feb 9, 2016 gwenaelle thillois
Feb 9, 2016 Carolyn Holliday
Feb 9, 2016 Debra Ashworth
Feb 9, 2016 Sandra Morris
Feb 8, 2016 kat brown
Feb 8, 2016 Marta Hoyos
Feb 8, 2016 Jackie Maloof
Feb 8, 2016 Kay Beams This is horrific, barbaric, sadistic, cruel, inhumane. How can you call yourselves humans & do cruel, barbaric, painful, stressful & terrifying things like this to any animal. This teaches children 2 disrespect animals. SL 2014-7 is a shameful law.REPEAL
Feb 8, 2016 Bonnie Farmer
Feb 8, 2016 Michelle DeMaio
Feb 8, 2016 Holly Upton
Feb 8, 2016 Mary Louise wosilis
Feb 7, 2016 Debra Nourse
Feb 7, 2016 DALE KASMAN Family friendly??? Stop this ANIMAL ABUSE & CRUELTY!
Feb 6, 2016 Meray Dedeci
Feb 6, 2016 Christine Goodstein
Feb 6, 2016 beatrice lelievre
Feb 6, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 5, 2016 Tania Bliss
Feb 5, 2016 liliane moraes

back to top

Festival Cats and Dogs Kitchen Towels - Set of 2
Share this page and help fund food & care: