PETA Sues State Agency to Stop Cruel New Year’s Eve ‘Opossum Drop’

Wildlife Commission Instructs Group to Submit Petition Early, Then Refuses to Consider It

For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2013

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Raleigh, N.C. — The other shoe has dropped: For the second time in as many years, PETA is suing the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), this time to prevent it from issuing an illegal permit or license to Clay Logan to feature a live opossum at his annual Opossum Drop in Brasstown on New Year’s Eve. Specifically, PETA and several North Carolina residents are asking the Wake County Superior Court to declare that the WRC lacks the authority to issue anyone a permit or license for the purposes of suspending a terrified wild opossum above a stage in a Plexiglas box and subjecting him or her to the explosive sounds of fireworks and musket fire as well as the blinding glare of floodlights. PETA is also asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the WRC from issuing a permit or license to Logan this year. 

“Simply, the WRC is legally prohibited from issuing a permit or license to include a live opossum in a ‘drop’ in direct violation of North Carolina law,” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey S. Kerr. “There are other ways to celebrate without cruelty to animals, and according to experts, these highly sensitive animals suffer—and even die—after their release because of trauma.”

During last year’s successful PETA lawsuit challenging the WRC’s issuance of a sham permit for dropping a live opossum at the event—and in which PETA was awarded $75,000 in attorney’s fees as a result of the agency’s frivolous appeal of the suit—the WRC’s attorney said that PETA should have presented its concerns in advance of the event, instead of waiting until weeks before the event to seek emergency judicial relief. As a result, this year PETA submitted its 156-page petition—complete with sworn testimony from numerous experts who have collectively cared for more than 14,000 opossums—to the WRC on September 10, requesting its assurance that it would refuse to issue a permit or license for using a live opossum at this year’s event. Instead, the WRC refused to consider PETA’s petition. One of the criteria governing the issuance of a license to possess and exhibit wildlife states that the license must be in the interest of the humane treatment of the animal, which, PETA believes, it clearly isn’t in this case.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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