Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Live 'Possum Returns To Brasstown

Clay Logan puts on a New Year's Eve show every year that is appreciated by all. All, that is, except the so-called animal rights activists at PETA. I've written about the Possum Drop in the past and PETA's legal machinations to prevent the use of a live opossum. With New Year's Eve almost upon us, I thought it was time for an update.

It appears that PETA is finally being stymied in its efforts to prevent a live opossum from being used in the Possum Drop. A bill that was passed this year by the North Carolina General Assembly removed the opossum from state wildlife laws and regulations during the period between December 29th and January 2nd. The bill sponsored by Rep. Roger West (R-Cherokee) was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) back in June.

PETA went to Superior Court in Wake County to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the event. Judge James Roberson turned down their request in an order issued on December 14th.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
Organizers of this year's New Year's Eve 'possum drop in Brasstown can use a live animal, a judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge James Roberson this week turned down a request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented use of a real opossum for the annual event in western Clay County.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is suing over a law the General Assembly passed earlier this year that suspends enforcement of state wildlife rules regarding opossums a few days before and after New Year's Eve. PETA says the law, sponsored by Rep. Roger West, R-Cherokee, is unconstitutional because it is special treatment for 'possum drop organizers and makes it unclear what laws apply to people who work to return injured wildlife to their natural habitat.

Roberson wrote in an order filed Dec. 14 in Wake County, where the case is being heard, that PETA and other plaintiffs "have not shown the likelihood of success on the merits of the claims asserted in" their lawsuit so the request for an injunction should be denied. The decision still allows the lawsuit to go forward.
Undoubtedly this ruling will be appealed by PETA. They have another appeal pending before the NC Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of a previous law that exempted only Clay County from wildlife regulations during the period before and after New Year's Eve.

Nonetheless, baring any last minute court orders, the event is on and Clay Logan is happy about it.
“I’m tickled. My plan’s just to have a live possum, carry on like we used to and have a good time,” said Clay Logan, event organizer and owner of Clay’s Corner store, in Clay County.
Despite all the claims of cruelty by PETA, I think if I were an opossum, I'd prefer to be in that plexiglass container being feed treats when you consider the alternative. The alternative being where most people see opossums - squished dead on the road.

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