A North Carolina judge has ordered a halt to the annual “Possum Drop” in the mountain community of Brasstown, a victory for animal rights extremists who claim lowering the marsupial in a tinsel-covered box on New Year’s Eve is inhumane.
Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison ruled Tuesday that Brasstown store owner Clay Logan did not qualify for a permit to hold animals captive, and that the state Wildlife Resources Commission had no authority to issue a special permit.
“Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for,” Morrison wrote in his order. “‘Give me liberty, or give me death!’”
Known as the possum capital of the South, Brasstown has rung in the new year by suspending an opossum above a stage and lowering it at the stroke of midnight while fireworks boom in the background.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a lawsuit in December seeking a temporary restraining order, which was denied. The petition moved to the Office of Administrative Hearings, where the parties agreed to seek summary judgment. Further appeals are likely.