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Goal: 75,000 Progress: 65,586
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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.

Sincerely,

(The Undersigned)

Petition Signatures


May 26, 2017 Karen Moore
May 26, 2017 Sheila Winegarden
May 25, 2017 Maria Segura How cruel is this act. Please stop it. Not entertaining to anyone
May 25, 2017 Laura Gwin
May 25, 2017 Adele True
May 24, 2017 Anne Griffin
May 24, 2017 Cathy Cummings
May 24, 2017 Bożena Staniszewska
May 24, 2017 Lori Berant What the @%&#!!!!!! What's wrong with these people? They think things like this are entertaining and then get defensive when people think Hillbillies!!! Come on!!!
May 24, 2017 Melinda Norman
May 24, 2017 Kathy Hewitt
May 24, 2017 Cheri Morris
May 24, 2017 teri darling
May 23, 2017 Melody McLaughlin
May 23, 2017 steven rule
May 23, 2017 Barbara Dincau
May 23, 2017 Monica Daniel-Marshall
May 23, 2017 Jennifer Day
May 23, 2017 Mallerie Beausoleil
May 23, 2017 Lou Iannucci
May 22, 2017 Ginger Geronimo
May 22, 2017 carmen zehm
May 21, 2017 charin Suarez
May 21, 2017 Tina Quinones
May 21, 2017 Lorraine Clemens
May 20, 2017 James Deschene
May 20, 2017 Shirley Troia
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 19, 2017 Candice Baynes
May 19, 2017 Geri Roggiero
May 19, 2017 chris cook it is sick
May 19, 2017 Kayna Warren
May 18, 2017 bethzaida vicente
May 18, 2017 Cher Hester What is wrong with you people?!!
May 18, 2017 Andrea H
May 17, 2017 Mary Fought
May 17, 2017 barbara burnett Why,why why!Its 2017,move on!!!!!
May 17, 2017 Angela Williams
May 17, 2017 Lisa hearn
May 16, 2017 Lisa Cruz
May 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 16, 2017 Evelyn Cuevas
May 16, 2017 Maria Bellefeuille
May 16, 2017 brigitte winkler
May 16, 2017 Yancette Halverson
May 16, 2017 Georgi and Harold Mortensen
May 16, 2017 Deborah Hilliard
May 16, 2017 Shonna Myers
May 16, 2017 lisa starzi
May 15, 2017 Justine WONT KNOW

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