The Possum Drop: A New Year’s Eve Tradition Lives On!

I have reported on the Possum Drop, a New Year’s Eve tradition for 24 years, in the small western North Carolina town of Brasstown a number of times. The event stuck in the craw of PETA and they sued the state a number of times to get it stopped. It took a change in state law to allow the beloved event to continue using a live opossum as opposed to either a stuffed animal or roadkill.

The event ended in Brasstown with last year’s New Years Eve when Clay Logan retired and closed his Clay’s Corner store. However, it has now been taken over as an event by the nearby Town of Andrews.

As reported by the Cherokee Scout newspaper:

The festivities start at 8 p.m. with live entertainment, including Steve Phillips and the Midnight Express as well as the High Country Harmonizers.

At 10 p.m., the possum will be escorted to the stage by the Andrews High School Marching Band. The event will continue with Logan hosting the traditional Possum Drop entertainment, including the Miss Possum Contest, a tribute to Americans serving in the military and surprise performances. The evening will conclude with the possum lowered in a Plexiglas cage to mark the new year and fireworks finale.

Just in case rainfall is too much for the grass field, there is a plan B. In that scenario, a stage will be built at the front of the pool, facing the parking lot where spectators will gather. Reid said this option would feel more like the former home of the event.

(Mayor James) Reid asked the committee for the minor change in location because he was concerned that the field at Heritage Park would be too muddy on New Year’s Eve. He didn’t want people to leave the night disappointed in the venue’s condition.

While the Town of Andrews plans to make the event its own, it still has Logan’s influence and guidance behind it. It will feature the fun traditions of live music, the Miss Possum contest and, of course, the possum carefully lowered in a cage to mark the new year.

Of course, PETA has their panties in a wad over the event as usual releasing this hyperbolic statement:

Andrews, North Carolina, apparently intends to celebrate New Year’s Eve by hosting a sadistic so-called “opossum drop,” during which a wild-caught opossum will be imprisoned inside a Plexiglas box for hours above a rowdy crowd. At midnight—after being forced to endure a near-constant barrage of live music, including a noisy marching band leading him in, and fireworks displays with the usual explosions and smoke—the terrified animal will be slowly lowered to signify the dawning of a new year. Because this sensitive and elusive prey species naturally avoids human contact at all costs, subjecting one of them to hordes of partiers, chaos, and loud noises is inhumane and would very likely result in a potentially fatal stress-induced condition.

PETA scheduled a meeting with Mayor James Reid to describe our concerns and to encourage city officials to “drop” any one of countless nonliving articles that wouldn’t suffer, but he canceled the meeting at the last minute, even declining to discuss the matter by phone—so now it’s your turn!

They are asking PETAfiles everywhere to call or write Mayor Reid to express their outrage.

Animal lovers can rest assured that the ‘possum will be well cared for as it will have a vet exam after capture, be monitored for stress, and be taken home after the event by a wildlife expert. As Town Administrator Bill Green notes, “It’s the best-cared-for possum.”

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.

Virginia Enacts Law Aimed At PETA

Any long-time reader of this blog knows that I loathe and despise the so-called animal rights group PETA. In addition to their legal grandstanding against events like the Possum Drop, they run an animal shelter in Norfolk, VA. Unlike the private shelters in my area that operate as no-kill shelters, the PETA shelter seems to operate on the kill’em all and let God sort them out principle.

Looking at the statistics from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the last 10 years, the lowest percentage of animals euthanized (killed) in any one year was 82.4% in 2013. In 6 out of the 10 years, they euthanized 90% or more of the animals received. In a couple of those years, less than 10 animals (dogs or cats) per year were reported as adopted.

In response to this abysmal record, the Virginia legislature enacted SB 1381 which clarified state law regarding private animal shelters. It says that “their purpose is to find permanent adoptive homes for animals.” The Virginian-Pilot reports that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed the bill.

It should come as no surprise that PETA opposed this bill.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County) said he hoped PETA will reduce their extremely high euthanasia rate. If not, they will lose access to the drugs used to euthanize animals.

I guess PETA will have to go back to the old methods like using car exhaust.

A Tradition Returns

The “real” ‘Possum Drop returns!

Last year, Clay Logan, organizer of the annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop held in Brasstown, North Carolina, had to resort to using an opaque box covered with pictures of an opossum.  That was because of a ruling that PETA won from an administrative law judge.

This year, tradition returns due to the General Assembly passing a law specifically allowing the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to issue permits for events such as the ‘Possum Drop.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The famous New Year’s Eve ’Possum Drop might be back to normal this year under a permit issued by North Carolina on Friday.

The state Wildlife Resources Commission says Clay Logan, owner of Clay’s Corner, has permission to capture an opossum, which he plans to lower in a clear plastic box in a parody of the ball drop in Times Square.

PETA is not taking this change in the law well. They plan to file a lawsuit in Raleigh to stop the event from using a live opossum.

Martina Bernstein, PETA’s director of litigation, said the group will be back in court Monday to argue the license fails to comply with state law.

“Opossums are shy, timid animals, and PETA has presented (the wildlife commission) with overwhelming evidence supporting its position that dangling a live opossum above a stage amid fireworks and raucous crowds is cruel and causes stress that is likely to kill the animal days or weeks after the event,” she said in a written statement.

If PETA is so unalterably opposed to this event, I might suggest Ms. Bernstein could volunteer to dress up as an opossum and take the place the live opossum being used in the ‘Possum Drop. She would be taking a risk as I’ve never seen an opossum yet that has safely made it across the road.

I Think Someone Needs A Rabies Shot

I make no secret of my disdain and disgust for the supporters of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) whom I call PETAfiles. Now they have gone so far beyond the pale that I am left wondering if they are suffering from rabies given their rabid attack on a Pennsylvania teen who was bitten by a bear while deer hunting.

Camille Bomboy of Lock Haven, PA was attacked by a female bear while deer hunting near her family’s farm. The attack almost caused Bomboy to lose an ear. She had inadvertently gotten between a mother bear and her cubs which may have precipitated the attack. After a brief stay in the hospital, Bomboy is home with her family.

Following the attack, she received a letter from Alicia Woempner who serves as the Special Projects Division Manager for PETA. After saying she wished Bomboy a speedy recovery, Woempner goes on to say:

This seems to be a good opportunity to put yourself in the place of the individuals you and the rest of your hunting party were trying to kill. As terrifying as it must have been to be attacked by a bear, please consider the frightening and painful experiences that hunters set out to impose upon animals. There used to be a bumper sticker that read, “I support the right to arm bears!” That was a joke, but in all seriousness, it would be a blessing if you were to abandon hunting and decide to live and let live.

You have to wonder in what sort of warped universe these zealots live.

To add insult to injury, PETA sent their Senior VP Lisa Lange to Fox News to discuss it. Lange said to Gretchen Carlson that this incident might cause Bomboy to sympathize with the animals she is hunting.

Gretchen Carlson replied, “When a teenage girl is potentially almost killed … you send a letter asking her to look at it from the perspective of the bear?!”

Lange didn’t back down, saying, “Absolutely.”

The video of the interview can be seen here.

Number One Bad Dad… Or Not

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are attention whores. I don’t think that comes as any surprise to anyone who has seen some of their earlier stunts such as splashing fake bloods on fur coats or putting body-painted models in cages. And lest we forget, it is due to their actions in court that Brasstown’s New Year’s Eve Possum Drop was forbidden to use a live opossum.

Their latest attention getting scheme is to send Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) their “2012 Bad Dad Award”. His offense? He took his daughter Liza on a successful father-daughter deer hunt over Thanksgiving. They said it is for “low caliber” parenting. For some reason I don’t think they mean it as a commentary over Liza using her own Remington 700 in .243 Winchester as opposed to a .270 or .308.

In their letter to Ryan telling his of the award, PETA insinuates that parents who take their children hunting are creating future school shooting incidents.

November 28, 2012

The Honorable Paul Ryan
United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Ryan:

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands in Wisconsin, I am writing to present you with PETA’s Bad Dad Award (your certificate is on the way). You deserve the award because, instead of teaching your young daughter respect for wildlife and encouraging her to embrace nonviolence, you gave her a gun and encouraged her to kill animals for fun.

You seem to have a desperate need to assert your old-fashioned idea of manhood, to wield power over those who can’t defend themselves, even to the point of stealing their very lives for nothing more than the perverse thrill of it. I imagine there must be a lot of people who are disappointed in your lack of empathy, not only for those who are unarmed in the face of the fancy weaponry that helps you do your dirty work but also more broadly. I suspect that while you love your daughter, you don’t understand that the love of one’s offspring is shared by other living beings, including deer, whose fawns become orphaned when they are killed. And given that your daughter was “practicing,” one wonders if she is already among the ranks of hunters responsible for allowing deer to flee wounded, only to die out of sight, slowly and in agony.

How appalling to use your influence to desensitize your child to the suffering of others. In fact, the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates—including 16-year-old Andrew Golden who, along with an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School near Cleveland earlier this year, had first expressed their love of hunting animals. In light of this fact alone, it seems grossly irresponsible to encourage a child to kill for “fun.”

You can’t teach kids to be tough, if that was the purpose, by encouraging them to kill those who can’t defend themselves. Being a good dad means encouraging children to engage in safe, peaceful, and fun ways for them to enjoy nature, including canoeing, bird watching, biking, and hiking—even clearing the woods of hunters’ beer cans and other trash would be a blessing. While this letter is blunt, its point is to ask you to ponder the value of encouraging compassion in your daughter, as well as in your other children, by switching to humane family activities.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

I think it is an understatement to call these people bat-shit crazy. Their next stunt is put up billboards featuring talk show host Wendy Williams nude. I can’t wait for what Joel McHale will do with that in the next episode of The Soup.

As for the award to Paul Ryan, I’m sure that it might get him a few more votes in his home district in Wisconsin from Democrats who hunt deer. I know he won’t be losing any votes – or sleep – over it.

Clay Logan On The Possum Drop

The Possum Drop in Brasstown, North Carolina has been in the news a lot lately due to the suit brought by PETA to stop it. Cam Edwards of NRA News interviewed Clay Logan, owner of Clay’s Corner and the organizer of the Possum Drop, about his plans now that Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison, Jr. ruled in PETA’s favor.

In a rather humorous interview, Mr. Logan noted that in all the years that they’ve had the Possum Drop not one opossum get scared or traumatized enough to “play possum” or act dead. I believe that says something there.

While the New Year’s Eve festivities will continue in Brasstown, Mr. Logan said he didn’t know what the guest of honor would be. He was noncommittal on whether or not they will just ignore the judge’s ruling and use a live opossum.

Frankly if they aren’t allowed to use a live opossum, I think they should put Ingrid Newkirk in the cage and use her. I’m sure she wouldn’t object as it would be a human in the cage and not a four-legged critter.

Dead Possums Only For Possum Drop

As I wrote a couple of months ago, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was suing the NC Wildlife Resources Commission over the granting of a permit to the organizer of Brasstown’s Possum Drop. That event is held annually on New Year’s Eve and involves the lowering – not dropping – of a caged opossum to the ground in a take-off of Times Square’s dropping the ball.

It seems that PETA must have found the most gullible judge in North Carolina. Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison, Jr. ruled yesterday that the NCWRC cannot issue a permit to Clay Logan for the live trapping of a opossum. A dead opossum is OK with the judge but not a live one.

Logan had a sportsman’s license and could have killed the animal,
which was in season at the time. But he didn’t meet standards for either
a license or a permit to keep animals in captivity, PETA argued, and no
statute permitted the WRC to allow ‘possum-caging on a special and
temporary basis.

Morrison agreed. Killing the animal was lawful; confining it was not.

should therefore have instructed Logan to immediately release the
opossum into the wild where the opossum had been captured, or kill it,”
Morrison wrote in his order.

Judge Morrison went on to say:

“Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned
for,” Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. wrote in his
order. “’Give me liberty, or give me death!’”

I’m sorry but Judge Morrison is an idiot. I suppose it would be considered harassment if I mailed Judge Morrison a road-kill possum or sent him a snide email. Given I don’t want either Postal Inspectors or FBI Special Agents knocking on my door, it is a nice idea but one on which I’ll pass.

The NCWRC has 30 days in which to decide to appeal this case to Wake County Superior Court. Frankly, I hope they do.

PETA Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone

Brasstown, North Carolina is a small little town in the far southwestern corner of the state. It is home to the John C. Campbell Folk School where they teach everything from woodworking to quilting to story-telling.

The Cherokee County town is also home to a quaint New Year’s Eve tradition called the Possum Drop. Held at Clay’s Corner, the Possum Drop actually involves the lowering -not dropping -of a live possum (oppossum, if you are a stickler for spelling) starting around 10pm. It is Brasstown’s answer to the dropping of the ball in Times Square. This event is unique enough to have caught the eye of CBS’s Bill Geist who did a story on it for CBS Sunday Morning.

Unfortunately, it has also caught the attention of the busybodies at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They are now taking the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to court for issuing a permit to the organizer of the Possum Drop, Clay Logan.


PETA attorney Martina Bernstein said possums are timid animals and can actually die from the stress. She likened the New Year’s Eve event to torture for the animal.

“It is something you wouldn’t do to your own dog or cat – have them hoisted up on a Plexiglas contraption for several hours with fireworks going off you know swinging in in the cold air,” Bernstein said.

She argued that the state permit for the event was improperly issued because North Carolina law doesn’t allow wild animals to be kept captive unless it’s for rehabilitation – and that requires a captive animal permit.

“There are very strict rules for that. It’s not a free-for-all,” she said. “But apparently the agency believes, if you don’t fit into these permits, we’re just going to make up something.”

Norman Young, the assistant attorney general representing the Wildlife Resources Commission, said the permit was legal. New Year’s Eve falls during possum season in the state, so Logan’s hunting license allows him to trap one for the drop, he said.

“(This is) an event that does not show any particular harm to the opossum and I might add doesn’t meet the elements of the animal cruelty statute,” Young said.

Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. refused the state’s motion for the case to be dismissed which means that the case will live for another month.

The last time that PETA threatened a suit over this Mr. Logan resorted to using a roadkill ‘possum which didn’t thrill the New Year’s Eve revelers. If PETA does win, the state’s assistant attorney general says it would be entirely legal for Mr. Logan to kill a oppossum, keep it in his freezer, and then put the frozen carcass in the plexiglass box on New Year’s Eve.

My suggestion to PETA and one that I think at least the men in the Brasstown community would appreciate is for them to volunteer one of their brainless – but attractive – starlet backers to be put in the box and lowered on New Year’s Eve.  Naked, of course, since wearing any fur would be against their principles which we couldn’t have.