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How a PETA Lawsuit Has Forced an N.C. Town to Alter Its New Year's Celebration


"It ain't going to deter us from having the event."

TheBlaze has told readers about the unusual tradition conducted on New Years Eve in Brasstown, N.C. Instead of fixing their eyes on a TV as a sparkling ball dropped in New York City, the town gathered around its square for the annual "Opossum Drop." After a lawsuit from animal rights activists though, the annual event that has been occurring for nearly two decades will see a change.

Instead of using a live opossum encased in a Plexiglas box to lower slowly on a countdown to midnight, Brasstown will have to use a dead or stuffed opossum.

A live opossum was dropped in a container like this in prior years of the New Years Eve event. (Image: YouTube screenshot)

USA Today reported a judge ruled in favor of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' position. The group sued North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, which agency issued a permit each year for the live opossum drop, organized by Clay County resident Clay Logan.

Here's more from USA Today on the ruling:

Logan didn't meet the requirements for a captivity license or permit, so the commission circumvented its duty and invented a new permit called a "temporary possession and release permit," said Judge Fred Morrison. In his decision, Morrison wrote that "citizens are prohibited from capturing and using wild animals for pets or amusement."

This isn't going to put the event to a stop though.

"It ain't going to deter us from having the event," Logan told USA Today, noting he would use either a stuffed opossum or roadkill.

PETA is pleased with the outcome.

"There are many ways to ring in the new year that don't involve dangling a small, timid and terrified wild animal over a boisterous crowd and exposing him to bright lights, fireworks, and other frightening noises," David Perle, PETA's senior media coordinator, wrote in an emailed statement to USA Today.

Read more about the official events for the Opossum Drop on Logan's website Clay's Corner.

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