The organizer of Brasstown, North Carolina’s annual New Year’s Eve “Opossum Drop” has informed authorities that no live opossums will be used in this year’s event. PETA learned of the development after filing an emergency motion to prevent the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission from issuing a license to Clay Logan allowing him to exhibit a live opossum at the Opossum Drop. In response to the motion, the commission informed PETA that Logan had said that he does not intend to apply for a license this year. Logan also wrote a letter to Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison promising not to use a live opossum at this year’s event.
In previous Opossum Drop events, a live wild opossum was trapped, encased in a Plexiglas box, and suspended above a rowdy crowd for hours before being “dropped” (lowered) about 40 feet in imitation of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square. The animals were subjected to the terrifying sounds of fireworks, musket fire, noisy crowds, and loud music as well as the blinding glare of floodlights.
PETA and concerned North Carolina residents have battled the use of a live opossum in the event for years, filing several legal motions, including three lawsuits and a 156-page petition. Numerous veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators, and other experts had expressed their opposition to using live opossums, noting that even if the animals are released alive, they may die later of “capture myopathy,” a cascading series of catastrophic physical reactions to stress or trauma.