New Year’s Eve is officially safer for opossums in Andrews, N.C. Andrews traditionally rings in the New Year with an opossum drop, but after pressure from animal activists, the town decided to celebrate the beginning of 2020 with a womanless beauty pageant and professional wrestling tournament instead.

The traditional opossum drop began in the 1990s and involves placing the poor creature in a plexiglass block and lowering it, in lieu of a ball, at the stroke of midnight. Unable to escape the fireworks and crowds of people, the opossum is forced to wait out this event in excruciating fear.

Mayor James Reid reconsidered the tradition after Millie, last year’s victim of this strange and cruel tradition, sustained injuries when trapped by members of the community. Her leg needed amputation as a result.

Reid expressed regret for his past mistakes and committed to an animal-free celebration.

“Times are changing,” Reid told the Wall Street Journal. “Our plan is to have an awesome party and not have any live animals involved whatsoever.”

Unfortunately, the Andrews opossum drop is not an isolated case. Other towns, such as Tallapoosa, Ga., also participate in this cruel and inhumane tradition. Andrews proves that public outcry can make a difference. Please, contact all local officials that allow for such an inconsiderate celebration to occur and urge them to switch to a more compassionate and cruelty-free alternative event.

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free opossum in the wild