For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2015
David Perle 202-483-7382
PETA and concerned North Carolina citizens have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a North Carolina law that permits the Brasstown “Opossum Drop” to torment a live opossum by suspending all legal protections for opossums between December 29 and January 2 each year, and Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins has just denied the state of North Carolina’s motion to dismiss this lawsuit.
In his decision, Judge Collins stated that “providing a financial benefit to a select group of businesses that happened to be favored by Representative West (the sponsor of the 2015 Act) does not constitute a legitimate government purpose. It is the essence of impermissible economic protectionism.” He also stated that the complaint “raises a strong inference” that the law was “born of animosity” toward animal-welfare groups such as PETA. Quoting legal precedent, Judge Collins stated that “‘desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest'” and the “‘purpose to discriminate and silence animal welfare groups in an effort to protect a powerful industry cannot justify the passage of’ a discriminatory law.”
The following statement is a response from Jeff Kerr, general counsel to PETA:
This ruling means that PETA’s lawsuit will go forward, and on December 11, Judge Bryan Collins will hear PETA’s motion for a preliminary injunction to make sure that sensitive opossums will have the same legal protection, no matter what day of the year it is. The Opossum Drop’s screaming crowds, thumping music, and fireworks are what frighten opossums most, and the event’s promoter, Clay Logan, has said that it doesn’t matter what’s in the box that he drops, so PETA hopes that the people of Brasstown can ring in 2016 without tormenting a live opossum.
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.” More information about our work is available at PETA.org.