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 mess with bears, sometimes you get hurt. Of course, PETA's
"bear" didn't actually harm a hair on the heads of the animal abusers
at Chief Saunooke Bear
Park (CSBP) during a protest last weekend, but he and about two dozen of his friends
did bite back against the cruelty at the vile roadside zoo.
protest comes less than a week after the release of the findings of our undercover investigation of CSBP that unearthed evidence of systemic neglect and abuse of bears
(including shooting and eating one of
them), threats of violence, illegal drug use, sexual harassment, and racism by the park's staff. We are calling for the closure of the hellish bear
pits and the seizure of the surviving animals.
If you didn't make it to the demonstration, don't worry—you
can still help the bears suffering at CSBP by asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to confiscate all animals from the shabby roadside zoo immediately and place
them in a suitable sanctuary.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Animal advocates have long known the name Jambbas Ranch Tours. The notorious roadside zoo in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has racked up a mountain of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its pervasive neglect and abuse of animals. In fact, nearly every single USDA inspection of Jambbas since October 2006 has resulted in citations for the zoo for failing to provide animals with even the minimum care required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). And the latest inspection is no exception. Following a PETA complaint, the USDA again performed an unannounced inspection of Jambbas and found the following violations, among others:
The USDA has been formally investigating Jambbas for at least 18 months for the abuse and neglect of animals. The zoo's chronic violations of the AWA disqualify it from having its license to keep and exhibit animals renewed, yet inexplicably, the USDA continues to renew Jambbas' license year after year, which prompted PETA and others to file a lawsuit.
It's time for every one of the hundreds of animals at Jambbas to be retired to sanctuaries, just like Ben, the long-suffering bear who is now relishing his new life at the PAWS Sanctuary. Please urge the USDA to revoke Jambbas' license and let its captive animals finally retire to sanctuaries, where they will be loved and cared for, instead of caged and used for profit.
After inspectors found animals kept in appalling conditions
without proper care, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited two
disreputable roadside zoos in North Carolina for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
PETA keeps these two hellholes constantly in our sights and had just filed a
complaint about Jambbas Ranch Tours before the inspection.
USDA visit to Jambbas
last month following a PETA complaint led to a citation for AWA violations
after inspectors discovered a thin elderly llama who had a "thick creamy
discharge" oozing from an eye socket (the eye "has been gone for some
years"). As PETA had told the USDA, the llama also
appeared to be suffering from diarrhea—the
animal had a large area of what appeared to be dried feces on the back legs but
was given no medical treatment for these conditions.
The inspector also observed
a raccoon whose tail and part of whose hindquarters showed complete hair loss,
The animal was being given an ineffective flea- and tick-control medication,
which wasn't prescribed by a vet as required by law. Immediate veterinary care was ordered to treat the raccoon's condition.
inspection of the Cherokee
last month resulted in a repeat citation for failure to feed a young tiger cub
a healthy, edible, and contaminant-free diet. The cub is described as "small
and underweight for its age. The coat looks dull, dry, and brittle."
The shabby animal
prison (one of three
around Cherokee, North Carolina)
also received a citation for failure to vaccinate the same tiger cub. The
operators were warned of the need to correct this failure "from this day
Roadside zoos range from small menageries to large compounds—but
they are all unhealthy environments for animals. The owners' focus is on their
not the animals' needs, so neglect
and abuse are common.
These cruel operations stay in business only because people
patronize them, so please never visit a roadside zoo, and encourage your family
and friends to stay away too.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
glenn_e_wilson | cc by 2.0
Ah, New Year's Eve. Staying up late, sipping bubbly, singing "Auld Lang Syne," and … scaring the daylights out of an opossum? Unfortunately, yes, that last one happens every year at the New Year's Eve "Opossum Drop" in Brasstown, North Carolina. During the cruel event, a live opossum is suspended above a raucous crowd in a Plexiglas box for hours before being "dropped" about 40 feet in a redneck variation of New York City's Times Square ball drop.
The opossum used in this event was snatched from her natural home—a terrifying and disorienting experience—and is reportedly confined to a retail store until the event. During the "drop," the frightened animal will be subjected to a screaming crowd, fireworks, and the firing of muskets, which can damage her sensitive hearing and respiratory system. It's no wonder that eyewitnesses have reported that opossums used in previous years were shaking in fear. After the event, the opossum apparently will be released in a parking lot, putting her in danger of being hit by a car.
After PETA alerted North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) officials to the fact that the event’s organizer, Clay Logan, didn’t have the necessary permit to keep a wild animal, they hurriedly created a new type of permit for Logan, blatantly ignoring captivity permit or license requirements, including the requirement that animals receive humane treatment.
Please politely urge NCWRC officials to revoke the illegally issued permit for this cruel event. There's no reason to be cruel, and the Opossum Drop would be fun and safe for everyone if a toy opossum were used instead.
Written by PETA
In the wake of the storm system that sent dozens of tornadoes spiraling across the southern U.S., PETA visited the hardest-hit state to aid animal victims. After 62 tornadoes hit North Carolina Saturday night, PETA staffers arrived Sunday morning, traveling to devastated neighborhoods to offer animals food, treats, medicine, and doghouses. Chaining dogs is common in the areas that the team visited, so many dogs were left to fend for themselves when the tornado hit and likely did not survive. Fortunately, many did make it, even some whose doghouses were ripped apart.
This pretty white dog, named Squirt, rode out the storm in his pen, which was made of wood pallets and a tin roof. Squirt's owner evacuated her trailer just minutes before the trailer flipped upside down and rolled to a stop a few feet from Squirt's pen. Amazingly, Squirt was unharmed, but he was dirty, hungry, and terrified. PETA gave him food, water, a doghouse, straw bedding, and treats.
PETA's Community Animal Project team often travels to North Carolina and will continue to aid animals there. If you would like to help animal survivors of disasters, consider making a contribution to PETA's Animal Emergency Fund. And remember, now is the time to make emergency plans to protect all members of your family.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Here's a story that could melt even a snowman's heart. Fourth-grade students in teacher Chris Maxwell's class at Mills Park Elementary School in Cary, North Carolina, have raised more than $300 to help dogs who are trapped at the end of a chain with no shelter from freezing temperatures, snow, and sleet. The kids are donating the money to PETA's national "Change for Chained Dogs" program, which provides dogs who are chained up like old bicycles with warm, sturdy doghouses. Sadly, these doghouses are often the first "homes" that these animals have ever known. To thank the kids for their compassion, TeachKind—PETA's humane-education division—has given the students and the school its Compassionate School Award.
Check out a couple of the happy dogs with their new doghouses:
Inspired by these kids' kindness? Why not sponsor a doghouse in behalf of a cold, lonely dog?
A new billboard in Mooresville, N.C., is doing its best to boost Bloom supermarket's beef sales by using huge fans to waft the smell of charcoal and black pepper fragrance oils (aka the store's idea of charred cow) into traffic.
PETA thinks that it's time for people in Mooresville—which is best known for its NASCAR teams—to wake up and smell the cruelty. That's why we're trying to raise a stink of our own by using the same technology to erect a realistic, slaughterhouse-inspired, stench-producing billboard nearby:
Imagine sitting in hot, rush-hour traffic while the smell of fear, rotting flesh, blood, guts, urine, and feces drifts through your car window. If that whiff of reality doesn't inspire shoppers to head to the produce aisle, I don't know what will!
My advice to Mooresville residents: Look after yourself, the environment, and animals the next time you fire up the grill for a NASCAR event. Race to the store, take a left past Bloom's meat counter, and score some Boca burgers instead. Seriously, we wouldn't steer you wrong.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
The following is a post that originally appeared on PETA Prime.
Because of your support, PETA is able to work in local communities, helping individual animals in need. Thousands of animals are helped by PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) each year. This is the first edition of a series of posts chronicling the work of CAP—this post is from Emily Allen, assistant manager for CAP.
Before I started at PETA nearly five years ago, I didn't realize how dire the situation for animals was in so many rural and impoverished areas. There are millions of individual dogs out there who need help. They suffer in all weather extremes, at the mercy of people who often fail to do even the very minimum to care for them. If there is a chance that we can make their lives a little less hellish, we'll certainly try.
PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) drives for more than two hours each way every week—sometimes several times—in our effort to spare North Carolina's animals as much misery as possible. Many of these animals don't have anything good in their lives—certainly not the hope of an indoor life or a decent animal protection law to keep them safe, let alone a law enforcement agency that gives a hoot. Here are just a few of the dogs we met this week during one of our North Carolina trips:
Our first stop of the day was checking on a playful lab mix named Mariah. Last winter, we persuaded Mariah's humans to allow us to spay her. We transported Mariah to and from her spay appointment, and we provided her with a sturdy doghouse. The ride to and from her spay appointment was the first time that Mariah had ever been in a car. It was also the first—and only—time that she has ever seen a veterinarian. She gets uncontrollably frantic with excitement whenever she's off her tether, which, unfortunately, doesn't happen very often. Mariah's people are elderly and frail. And while they feed her regularly and talk nicely to her, they just aren't able to give her all the attention and exercise that she needs so desperately. And they aren't willing to give her up either. I try to stop at Mariah's house whenever I can and take her for a walk around the block so that she'll have the opportunity to smell new things and experience a bit of freedom.
A couple celebrating their wedding anniversary in New Bern, North Carolina, got stuck with the memory of a lifetime when the horse-drawn carriage in which they were riding was struck by a car, sending them and the carriage driver to the hospital. (Needless to say: open carriage, no seat belts, no air bags.) The horse, Suzi, was also injured.
Horses like Suzi have a bad life, trying to dodge traffic—but traffic doesn't always dodge them. This couple may now have a cautionary tale to tell their grandkids, but for Suzi and other horses who are forced to bear the weight of carriages and tourists in traffic day and night in all weather extremes, carriage rides are a hard trip down memory lane. New Bern needs to join cities around the world that have put these rides out to pasture for good.
Send a polite note to New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis Jr. asking him to ban horse-drawn carriages.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
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
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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.