There will be no opossum-dropping in Brasstown — I looked it up; it’s not a euphemism for something dirty — this New Year’s Eve. The News-Observer has the details:
An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that the state cannot issue a special permit allowing a caged marsupial to be lowered 20 feet over a stage – a 20-year tradition once profiled in The New York Times and the highlight of the mountain town’s celebration.
“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!’”
The decision hands a victory to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sued the state in December and has long argued that confining a ‘possum and subjecting it to loud noises and heavy crowds constitutes cruel treatment, regardless of it being released into the wild after the event. Two years ago, PETA made similar charges about the handling of Punxsutawney Phil, proposing that the Pennsylvania town use a robotic groundhog instead.
I have questions for PETA and for Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr.
What if I happen to be lawfully transporting a opossum to Opossum Paradise, through dangerous territory filled with deadly… whatever it is that eats opossum… and so I’m keeping it in a plexiglass opossum transport device for its own safety — would that be OK and in keeping with the fine traditions of Patrick Henry?
Furthermore, what if once I reach my car, I find it has slipped down a 20-foot embankment. There is no way for me to safely climb down to my car while carrying my plexiglass opossum transport device, but I do find a length of rope sturdy enough to allow me to lower the device (and its precious opossum cargo) safely down to my car? Time is of the essence, as deadly opossum-eating carnivores of some kind are closing in. Would this be a violation of my animal’s civil rights?
Did I mention the deadly predators are playing loud music? And that it might even be country music? What now is my proper course of action?
And finally, what do you have against robot approximations of wildlife?