For the past 21 years, the small mountain community of Brasstown, North Carolina has celebrated New Year’s Eve with an annual event known as the “Possum Drop”. It’s exactly like the famous “Ball Drop” except the citizens of Brasstown gather to watch an oppossum descend in an opaque plastic box instead. And due to recent actions taken by the animal rights group PETA, it looks like this year’s festivities will not be featuring anything resembling a living marsupial at all. From The Charlotte Observer:
“We may have possum stew or something if we find one dead,” organizer Clay Logan said Monday. “No live possums, let’s put it like that.”
Logan says using a live opossum as part of the celebration will be put on hold until a lawsuit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is resolved. The event has drawn national attention because of PETA’s attempts to stop it in recent years. But even before that notoriety, the celebration attracted thousands to the community more than 300 miles from Raleigh in the southwest corner of the state. It is now in its 21st year.
“Rain, storm, sleet or dark of night will not stop the Possum Drop,” Logan said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s a good family event. It’s good clean family fun, a good old redneck good time.”
In previous years, Mr Logan took some creative routes with the Possom Drop to fool PETA.
One year Logan spruced up and froze a dead opossum found by the side of the road to foil a PETA attempt to block it. Another year he displayed near the stage a live opossum in a wooden box, but used a remote-controlled car inside the plastic box to make it look like a live animal was inside, Logan said in a deposition.
Logan claims he has attempted to work with PETA but says the organization has been unreasonable. Ultimately, he rejects the group’s views that the event is abusive.
“We honor the possum,” he said. “We don’t shorten their lives – we prolong his life. They’re going to get run over anyway.”
On the other hand, PETA says Logan is the one who is being unreasonable. They’ve suggested he take a dead opossum to a taxidermist so the body can be reused in the event every year. Apparently, the animal rights organization has no issue with the use of a dead animal in circumstances such as these:
“If an animal is killed by accident, we’re obviously sorry it met its demise prematurely,” PETA attorney Martina Bernstein said Monday. “But that’s an accident. It’s different from deliberately hunting an animal with dogs, chasing it up a tree.
“You can ring in the New Year with a grand celebration with no need to cause any suffering to any shy animal that, by nature, would be terrified.”
Similar to the Possum Drop, the Tallapoosa Drop in Georgia is an event where the town’s citizens get together to watch a stuffed opossum named Spencer being lowered from a downtown building. So maybe taxidermy is the answer that will solve all these pesky problems! Damn, where’s Norman Bates when we need him?
(Source: The Charlotte Observer)