Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: In one of the
pettiest pieces of pork-barrel politics we've seen in a long time, North
Carolina state Rep. Roger West, who just so happens to be a sponsor of
Brasstown's annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop, has introduced Senate Bill 60,
also sneeringly known as "The Opossum Right-to-Work Act."
At face value, the bill appears
to be simply a way to skirt a judge's recent ruling that outlawed the cruel
event. But it's actually far more insidious than that—it would also strip other
wildlife protections and would allow wild animals to be held in captivity
for unspecified periods of time, put on display for profit or publicity, and
exploited for some unspecified "other purpose." The bill even seeks
to exempt some activities from the state's anti-cruelty law. TV icon Bob Barker
has sent a letter to members of the North Carolina Senate urging them to reject
the bill, and if you're a North Carolina resident, we hope you will do the same and get all your
neighbors to weigh in, too.
Originally posted on November 14th, 2012:
After the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC),
despite an objection from PETA, issued a made-up permit to Clay Logan to possess an opossum for his cruel annual New Year's Eve "Opossum
Drop"—in which a terrified opossum is abducted, held captive, then
suspended and lowered into a horde of boisterous revelers—at his general store
in Brasstown, PETA took the matter to court. Now
the verdict's in, and the animal with the gray fur scored a victory over the
folks with the red faces—and necks.
That's right, y'all: Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred G.
Morrison Jr. ruled in PETA's favor, finding that in North Carolina, citizens "are prohibited from capturing
and using wild animals for pets or amusement" and that the "WRC
has no authority to issue any permit to Logan for the unlawful public display
of a native wild animal at the Opossum Drop Event." As a result, the WRC may not "issue any permit or license for possessing and publicly
displaying a live opossum for use in an 'Opossum Drop' event or for any other public display of a
live opossum or other native wild animal."
Each year, several weeks prior to New Year's Eve, Logan has captured
an opossum from the wild and confined the animal before hoisting him or her high
into the air on New Year's Eve, and then, with a raucous crowd cheering and the
noise of fireworks, live music, and the firing of muskets and cannons, lowered
the frightened animal into the fray. Opossums are shy animals who are terrified
of humans—their primary predator—and vulnerable to stress-related conditions because
of captivity, including capture myopathy, which can result in death days or
even weeks after release back into the wild.
What You Can Do
Causing animals pain or distress should never be cause for
celebration. Learn more about entertainment that doesn't harm animals as well as how to live in
harmony with wildlife.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.