@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Possum Drop bill crosses the street

Posted February 21, 2013

Clay’s Corner is the little store in Brasstown, Clay County, that’s become the center of controversy for lowering a live opossum in a cage from a pole on New Year’s Eve. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals mounted a legal challenge this year against the practice. But owner Clay Logan and his buddies say they don’t mean any harm. In fact, he’ll feed anyone who walks in the door, and he’ll play them some good old music – just as long as they’re not with PETA.

State lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to legislation allowing Brasstown's annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop to continue.

The measure is headed to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory.

Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, explained the Possum Drop to his colleagues. 

"They take a live, well-fed, happy opossum, and they put the possum in a Plexiglas box and lower it," he said.  "It reaches the ground very gently at the stroke of midnight."

Davis said the yearly event usually draws several thousand people. No alcohol is allowed.

"It’s a good, wholesome event. It’s an economic development tool for the area," he told the Senate. "This essentially gives the Wildlife Resources Commission the authority to issue them a permit for this event and other like-minded events that may occur in North Carolina."  

Davis said his mind wasn't changed by a letter he received from longtime game-show host and animal welfare activist Bob Barker. 

"If you would think for a moment," Davis joked, referring to Barker's famous tag line, "If you could ask an opossum...would you rather be gently lowered in a Plexiglas box or be spayed or neutered?"

Sen. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, called that "the unkindest cut of all."

The measure passed 41-2. The senators voting against it were Angela Bryant, D-Nash, and Trudy Wade, R-Guilford.

"It appears to be cruel and disturbing to the animal solely for the purpose of human entertainment," Bryant said after the vote. "I think that's a dangerous cultural message. What 's then to keep a child from trying to duplicate that in some way with another animal or pet?"

"I just think of my kitties and I don't think it's good public policy," Bryant added. "I wish they could drop something inanimate and be happy."

20 Comments

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  • ylisabet2 Mar 2, 10:04 p.m.

    I would like to commend the event organizers at the Tallapoosa, Ga ‘Possum Drop’ for no longer using a live opossum at their annual NYE event! Unfortunately, my home state of North Carolina is not nearly as progressive as our neighboring state! Our NC legislators and event organizers for the Brasstown, NC event are clearly not ‘up to speed’ regarding animal rights …. totally disregarding them as ‘sentient beings.’ Just because you do not understand a species does not make it ‘dumb’….it merely reflects our inability to fully understand it! That reflects our ignorance…not theirs!!! Empathy, Compassion, Respect for Wildlife …this is the message we should be sending our young people. What’s the point of saving our planet for future generations if they don’t understand the other creatures that they co-exist with?

  • ylisabet2 Feb 24, 11:05 a.m.

    It will be interesting to see if our governor is a proponent of wildlife exkploitation or a 'humane' being!!!! A 'true' leader protects God's creatures!!!

  • ylisabet2 Feb 23, 11:33 a.m.

    How sad there are only TWO compassionate humans representing us...both female, of course!!!!!!!!

  • blakejackbobo Feb 22, 7:18 p.m.

    Don't you folks have something more important to do than this????

  • ylisabet2 Feb 22, 6:02 p.m.

    You need look no further than our 'representatives' in Raleigh for 'proof positive' that North Carolina's education system has been failing for quite some time now!!!!!! The Opossum Right to Work Act....please save us from these people!!!!!

  • Scubagirl Feb 22, 2:45 p.m.

    "What 's then to keep a child from trying to duplicate that in some way with another animal or pet?"

    UM, THAT would be a good upbringing and parents teaching them right from wrong.

  • ncwolf08 Feb 22, 1:56 p.m.

    As I see it, having the Possum in a box is a heck of a lot better than scraping him off the highway as road kill.

  • goldenosprey Feb 22, 1:10 p.m.

    While I think it's cruel to scare some poor critter out of its wits by trapping it and lowering it with crowds and fireworks, it it really worthy of GA action when every night in NC hundreds of possums are reduced to furry smears on the highways, and we electrocute hogs by the million in factory farms and Steve Troxler looks the other way when cruel practices occur at poultry farms?

    Where are the jobs, Mr. Tillis?

    Maybe we should "harass" Mr.Skip Stam by offering to lower him in a plexiglass case from the PNC building on Fayetteville Street.

  • ylisabet2 Feb 22, 12:46 p.m.

    So ashamed that this reflects on my beloved NC mountains, my home state....even Georgia showed compassion by removing a live specimen from their drop and using a stuffed opossum instead!

  • OpenM1nd Feb 22, 8:41 a.m.

    What if the 'possum sees his shadow?

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