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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: 62,126
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

May 29, 2016 Brian Johnson
May 29, 2016 Amadeus Guchhait
May 29, 2016 DeLynda Brown
May 28, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 28, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 28, 2016 claudia Moorman
May 28, 2016 Phyllis Plotkin Opossums are living beings that feel pain and fear. I find this activity to be incredibly cruel, and to make the suffering of an animal a reason for entertainment is horrifying. How did torture and inflicting pain ever become entertainment.
May 28, 2016 Jane Patton
May 27, 2016 Valerie Libhart
May 27, 2016 Nathasha Pires
May 27, 2016 Tonia Duszynski
May 27, 2016 Sara Rathfon
May 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 27, 2016 Nina pykare
May 27, 2016 Elizabeth Sanoff
May 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 27, 2016 Gisele Rodrigues
May 27, 2016 Jennifer Wilson
May 27, 2016 pat young
May 27, 2016 Beth Nordmeyer
May 26, 2016 Pam Novotny "The time will come when public opinion will no longer tolerate amusements based on the mistreatment and killing of animals." Albert Schweitzer One more reason to avoid our southern most states. Good grief, what a sad community mentality.
May 26, 2016 amber link
May 26, 2016 Susan Lindsey
May 26, 2016 Joanne Feinstein
May 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 25, 2016 jennifer landis
May 25, 2016 Steve Williams
May 25, 2016 Edward Jepson
May 24, 2016 Cynthia Haynes
May 24, 2016 Shielah Blalock
May 24, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 24, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 23, 2016 Elizabeth Kramer Leave it to the Deep South (particularly the Carolinas) to abuse and torture animals. They obviously teach that lesson to children.
May 23, 2016 Rachelle Gervais Vasquez This is a very cruel an inhumane way to treat such a beautiful little creature. just me
May 23, 2016 Alexis Adams I am appalled that this is allowed to happen ESPECIALLY in this country. This practice MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY.
May 23, 2016 Rumen Aleksandrov
May 23, 2016 Tatiana de Souza Barreto
May 22, 2016 Kat Courtney, MA
May 22, 2016 Barbra Premo
May 22, 2016 Ruth Rudin
May 22, 2016 Francoise Etourneaud
May 21, 2016 Veronica Baez Stop the cruelty!!!
May 21, 2016 KAY M shame on them for this abuse- but what can you expect from NORTH CAROLINA- sincerely KAY M,
May 21, 2016 Rhonda Carr Just shocking!
May 21, 2016 Joan Walker
May 21, 2016 Marianne Rehfeld
May 21, 2016 Rachel Merry
May 21, 2016 Angela Kohn
May 21, 2016 beverley Turner What is wrong with these people. How can humans be so cruel? it beggars belief this is still happening in 2016.
May 21, 2016 Ljiljana Milic

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