Swap the Groundhog for Our Flippin’ Gift, Says PETA to Punxsutawney

Published by David James Olsen.
3 min read

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, a groundhog’s weather prediction is no more accurate than flipping a coin. And PETA has quite the coin trick up our sleeve to urge compassion for a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil. He is not a meteorologist and deserves better than to be exploited every year for tourism money.

A Plan to Replace Punxsutawney Phil

Ahead of Groundhog Day, PETA wrote to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s president, Tom Dunkel, offering to toss the club a giant coin if it agrees to send Phil to a reputable sanctuary. Should kindness prevail, the huge coin could easily replace him as the Pennsylvania town’s gimmick to draw in tourists.

Photo of a man in a suit next to a giant gold coin showing two sides

In addition, PETA mailed the members of the club’s Inner Circle “Round Tuit” coins to encourage them to get around to releasing Phil to a sanctuary. For years, we’ve launched provocative campaigns to free him, including one in 2020 that encouraged the use of an animatronic groundhog.

 

Also ahead of Groundhog Day, PETA’s placing our “I’m ME, not a meteorologist” ad on 10 buses to encourage Sun Prairie, Wisconsin—a suburb of Madison—to stop using Jimmy the Groundhog to forecast weather.

PETA's "I'm ME, not a meteorologist" ad on the side of a bus in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Every Groundhog Is Someone

Groundhogs are shy, solitary animals who socialize with other groundhogs only to choose a partner. They are skilled swimmers and climbers and create complex, multichambered burrows that even have separate “bathrooms.”

They don’t want to live in confinement in a local library, where they can’t do anything that’s natural and important to them. They also don’t want to be used to prognosticate the weather or be exposed to flashing cameras, human handling, or noisy crowds.

punxsutawney peta billboards me not meteorologist groundhog day 2021

Phil is an individual who, although intelligent and self-aware, can’t predict the weather. Even if he could, keeping him or any other animal imprisoned for a cruel annual gimmick is abusive.

Why to Chuck a Cruel and Tired Tradition

For more than a century, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has exploited a groundhog on February 2—when they’d naturally be in hibernation—and pretended that they’re giving a weather forecast.

Tim Roche, a meteorologist at Weather Underground, has even observed that from 1969 on, Phil’s overall accuracy rate is about 36%. “Even if you flip a coin, you’ll still be right close to half of the time,” Roche said. “That’s a 50 percent accuracy rate. So you’ll be better off flipping a coin than going by the groundhog’s predictions.”

Groundhog eating weeds

Punxsutawney must set an example by observing Groundhog Day without confining and exploiting live animals.

Take Action for Punxsutawney Phil

Observe Groundhog Day in a way that doesn’t involve abusing animals. Tell Punxsutawney to send Phil to a reputable sanctuary:

Urge The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to Let Phil Retire

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind

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