What in the world is “the legalization of cruelty to opossums?” It’s exactly what it sounds like. According to the News & Observer, opossums in Clay County, N.C., can now be abused between the dates of December 26 and January 2 for what is called the traditional “Possum Drop” to celebrate the start of a new year. This means individuals organizing Opossum Drop events are allowed to suspend a terrified opossum in a clear box above a crowd of screaming people as loud music blasts, fireworks shoot off, and bright lights flash. At midnight, the live animal is lowered rather than dropped, yet still an unpleasant and disorienting experience for the little guy.
As we Green Monsters are compassionate people to all animals, it’s hard to fathom why North Carolina’s General Assembly thought it dire to rush this pro-cruelty bill through. Is it really that important to make sure a single county can torment a living creature just for fun? But hey…it’s only legal during the week of New Year’s Eve, as stated in bill HB 1131; that makes it OK (that’s what N.C. opossum drop participants are thinking).
Every other state agrees that such an act is wrong. It appears North Carolina lawmakers are teaching young people with this new legislation that it’s OK to change a law or rule to better fit what you want, even if something has been made illegal country-wide.
According to a recent article in the News & Observer, “While North Carolina residents may be incensed that their lawmakers have squandered legislative resources on legalizing the gratuitous exploitation of a wild animal, the quest to protect opossums from being used and abused at the Opossum Drop is not over. PETA will eventually make sure that HB 1131 winds up on the trash heap of history where it belongs if the members of the legislature don’t have the good sense to do it themselves.”
One guess as to what North Carolina’s state marsupial is — the Virginia opossum.
Image source: Monica R./Flickr