Brasstown’s New Year’s Resolution: No Live Opossums in ‘Opossum Drop’

None of the Animals Will Be Captured, Subjected to Sounds of Fireworks and Gunfire

For Immediate Release:
December 29, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Raleigh, N.C. – The organizer of Brasstown, N.C.’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 for exhibiting a live opossum at the Opossum Drop. In response to the motion, the Commission informed PETA that Logan had told the agency 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.

“There’s nothing festive about tormenting a timid opossum,” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr. “Brasstown can throw a grand party without engaging in cruelty to animals.”

In previous Opossum Drop events, a wild, live opossum was trapped, encased in a Plexiglas box, and suspended above a rowdy crowd for hours before being lowered about 40 feet in imitation of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York’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, whose motto reads in part that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way,” and concerned North Carolina residents have battled 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 a live opossum at the event, 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.

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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