Just 1,800 people live in Andrews, but the North Carolina town has captured the attention of animal rights activists worldwide.
And now, the community’s mayor, James Reid, is bending to the pressure.
He’s doing away with the “possum drop.” The two-decade-old tradition started in nearby Brasstown as the centerpiece of its New Year’s Eve celebrations that had been moved to Andrews.
But not anymore.
“It’s done,” Reid told the Wall Street Journal. “They can stick a fork in it.”
Reid said he was sick of fielding complaints.
He told local ABC PETA had threatened to sue the town: “When you’re a mayor of a small town you have to look at the best interest of everyone,” he added.
PETA, among others, complained about the treatment of the opossums placed in a box high above a crowd of rowdy revelers and lowered at the strike of midnight.
It was once proudly called the “redneck response” to the iconic Times Square ball drop.
PETA pointed out that last year’s animal, later named Millie, was dropped while suffering “a days-old, untreated injury” that ended in amputation.
“Her life in her natural habitat is now over because of this callous spectacle,” PETA said at the time.
The town of Tallapoosa in Georgia also has a possum drop.
But points out:
“We DO NOT use a LIVE POSSUM – IT IS STUFFED!”