Late last week, television icon and humane supporter Bob Barker sent a letter to Senator Tom Apodaca in the North Carolina Senate asking him to reject Senate Bill 60, more popularly known as "The Opossum Right-to-Work Act." House Bill 66 was unanimously approved last week.
Just in case you are wondering how an opossum could gainfully work in the small southern town of Brasstown, N.C., the job offering is only seasonal; in fact it is a terrifying one night gig on New Year's Eve for a shy little critter who has had the bad luck to have been captured by dogs, crated for weeks, and then lowered 20 feet in a clear plexiglass box while 3,000 spectators cheer, tubas toot, fireworks explode, and muskets shoot.
At the end of the celebration, the petrified animal is released in the parking lot.
There you go - it's New Year's Eve with PETA calling it the "redneck variation of New York City's Time Square Ball Drop."
Shaking your head in disbelief yet? Clay Logan has been hosting the "Annual Opossum Drop" for the last 21 years. Last year, however thanks to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA) a judge ruled against the town, citing Wildlife Resources Commission did not have the authority to issue a permit for commercial purposes, and only those licensed to rehabilitate wildlife were allowed to possess a wild animal.
It seems however politics have taken a turn against the public's right to enjoy wildlife. According to wral.com, the proposed bill would now give DENR the authority to possess wild animals for "scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes" as long as they were kept humanely.
Bob Barker states the proposed legislation threatens important protections for wildlife specifically citing that animals could be held indefinitely in captivity for profit and even exempts citizens from the state's anti-cruelty laws.
"While I am sure that this bill was introduced as a laugh," Mr. Barker writes in his letter to Senator Apodaca, "a moment's reflection will show that it makes a mockery of the legislative process and epitomizes big-government interference by seeking to significantly amend a well-established state law and create a legal loophole to satisfy the petty interests of one man made unhappy by a judge's rightful ruling."
To read more about PETA and Bob Barker's letter to the North Carolina Standing Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, please click here.
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