We’re on the cusp of 2016, and more than ever, people recognize that animals are smart and sensitive beings who deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness. But tiny Brasstown, North Carolina, is still clinging to a cruel event that resembles something out of the Dark Ages: the annual New Year’s Eve “Opossum Drop.”
A law that was passed last June exempts opossums from North Carolina’s cruelty-to-animals laws annually between December 29 and January 2, and the “Opossum Drop” organizers haven’t wasted any time in resuming the barbaric event. For the first time in three years, a live, terrified opossum will reportedly again be “dropped” in a cruel, “redneck” rendition of the ball drop that takes place in New York City’s Times Square.
This isn’t just stressful and scary for opossums—it can be deadly. Leading opossum experts agree that animals who are subjected to this abuse will likely die shortly after being released, probably from predation or “capture myopathy,” a cascading series of catastrophic physical reactions to stress and trauma.
PETA has filed a lawsuit challenging the “Opossum Drop” exemption law, which not only allows the event’s organizers to skirt wildlife protection laws but also makes it legal for anyone in the state to abuse opossums in any way during that time. As general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr points out, it’s as absurd as giving people a free pass to drive drunk on their birthdays.
No animal deserves to be tormented and terrorized for someone’s “celebration.” PETA will keep the pressure on to stop this cruel spectacle so that opossums can ring in the new year in peace.