PETA

The Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana
Cody Pope via Wikimedia commons

The annual possum drop in western North Carolina will go on this year, but without a live animal. 

For more than 20 years, Brasstown residents have watched a possum drop in a Plexiglass box at the stroke of midnight. But following challenges from animal rights advocates, organizer Clay Logan said he plans to use possum stew, hide or road-kill instead. 

pigs
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists say they will ramp up their efforts to halt military training they say harms and even kills animals.  The organization is urging the Army and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to turn exclusively to modern training equipment -- such as computer simulators. 

PETA says the United States is one of only six NATO nations that still uses live animals in military medical training.  PETA's director of lab investigations Justin Goodman says it's the military's own study that reveals the dangers.

The Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana
Cody Pope via Wikimedia commons

A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown's annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.

Judge Allen Baddour ruled in favor of the General Assembly's new animal display bill, which allows the state Wildlife Resources Commission to issue a permit for the event.

Each New Year's Eve, Brasstown revelers catch a wild opossum and lower it to the ground at midnight in a plexi-glass box. After the opossum is fed, it's released back into the wild.