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N.C. Senate Mulls Absurd Bill to Bring Back Banned Opossum Drop

Written by PETA | February 14, 2013

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.

Commenting is closed.
  • Ylisabet says:

    While I am not an advocate for using wildlife (stuffed or otherwise) for these types of events, I would like to commend the event organizers at the Tallapoosa, Ga ‘Possum Drop’ for no longer using a live opossum at their annual NYE event! Unfortunately, my home state of North Carolina is not nearly as progressive as our neighboring state! Our NC legislators and event organizers for the Brasstown, NC event are clearly not ‘up to speed’ regarding animal rights …. totally disregarding them as ‘sentient beings.’ Just because you do not understand a species does not make it ‘dumb’….it merely reflects our inability to fully understand it! That reflects our ignorance…not theirs!!! Empathy, Compassion, Respect for Wildlife …this is the message we should be sending our young people. What’s the point of saving our planet for future generations if they don’t understand the other creatures that they co-exist with?

  • DJ says:

    Leave the innocent animals alone! Gee whiz–they have a right to be here as much as people do. We’re in the 21st century–it’s about time to get (and stay) compassionate for all creatures–it’s the only right thing to do!!!

  • jocelyne lapointe says:

    Causant de la douleur ou de la détresse des animaux ne devrait jamais être un motif de célébration.

  • Manel says:

    It is so sad to learn that the many People in North Carolina abuses and mistreats the innocent animals without any sympathy towards them. Why the Animal Protection Agencies in North Carolina does not stand up and do the right thing. Those evil rith less people who torture and kill defenceless animals should be brought to justice. Those NC people who think Inflicting and abusing animals is a sport are just plain idiots. Wake up North Carolina Politicians do something to protect the wilderness and it’s habitants…and protect the planet earth.

  • roe says:

    It basically comes down to this, the more uneducated, the more likely to abuse an animal or run over it for fun. I was in Huntington Pa and saw a dead oppossum in the middle of side neighborhood road. In other words, its death could have been easily avoided. I asked my mother in law how someone could have it the animal? She said some of the locals intentionally swerve to hit them ( for fun ) yee haw! pathetic . If it is a felony that prosecute the offenders to the full extent- take their property as opposed to fining them, make them up aniaml crap with big signs on their back announcing what they do for “fun”. I can go on and on but unfortunately I’m not the one in charge in these hick towns

  • Grace says:

    The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), despite an objection from PETA, issued a made-up permit toClay 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. Clearly the NCWRC and Clay Logan are not the sharpest individuals. It’s reminesent of Mitt Romney and his family in the car while his caged dog is on the roof of the car speeding down the highway!

  • Dare Citizens Against Animal Cruelty says:

    There is a culture in NC and on the Outer Banks of killing innocent animals for fun.Even though it is a felony.People here run over all animals for fun,use cats as targets and all manor of cruelty exists here.Even though it is a felony in NC noone ever gets arrested.This happens everyday here.DO YOUR PART-BOYCOTT THEM OUT OF EXISTANCE!!!

  • Mimi says:

    Thank you Judge Morrison….Where I live I have a baby Opossum come right up to my back door looking in. I feed stray cat’s and she was welcome to help herself to the food I leave out for the cats. Opossum have it very hard because people have told me they are ugly and diseased. This is not true. They are like any other animal trying to survive and have the right to privacy and respect from humans. She still comes around, I saw her last night eating until she is full. I do this because of all the development of new homes her food source has become very scare. This way she has a better chance of surviving without going further away from her area looking for food. I make no contact with her because it is important that she never becomes comfortable with humans. I have volunteered with wildlife for several years and understand the boundaries with wild life. I don’t limit my compassion towards any animal based on what they look like. Opossum’s play a role in nature so the least I can do is help them to survive.

  • Geordie L. says:

    Go PETA! Hard to believe that anyone would find this abuse amusing. Leave wildlife alone.