PETA wants NC opossum drop custom curtailed
By TOM BREEN
December 16, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — If a national animal rights group gets its way, people in a small mountain town in North Carolina will have to greet the new year without lowering a scrappy marsupial to the ground.
Clay Logan, who owns the Clay’s Corner store in the far western tip of the state, has been lowering an opossum in a transparent box to the ground every New Year’s for 18 years, in a local homage to the famous ball drop in Times Square.
This year, though, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the state Wildlife Resources Commission to put a halt to the tradition, saying the activity is both cruel and illegal.
“Ignorance of the law is not a defense, and cruelty to animals is indefensible,” PETA Director Delcianna Winders said. “Using a captive opossum as the centerpiece of a raucous party is cruel and illegal.”
PETA’s letter, sent this week, is being reviewed, according to a commission spokesman, who said no decision has been made yet. The group claims that Logan lacks the necessary permit to have wild animals, and that the annual event fails to meet the legal standard of “humane treatment” of animals.