Just a few weeks ago, the "Possum Capital of the World" hosted its 49th annual Wausau Possum Festival. At these yearly festivals, which originated in 1970, attendees bid on possums with the intent to torment and spin the innocent and frightened animals by their tails, all in the name of twisted entertainment and baseless tradition. It's time to end the horrors perpetrated against these shy and harmless animals!
The small town of Wausau, Florida is home to under 400 residents and claims to have more possums than humans. This community boasts that it is the possum capital of the world, and even has a monument to commemorate them, so the question that begs to be asked is, why does this event hinge on abusing the very animals being celebrated?
Due to their striking facial features, possums are often viewed as frightening and are often unwanted guests. Although coming across a possum at night may be a little startling, they are actually non-aggressive unless threatened, intelligent, and beneficial to humans! Possums are the only marsupials indigenous to North America, and they eat hundreds of ticks a day along with waste and debris in their environment. Possums have survived for over 70 million years on this planet, and roamed the same land as the dinosaurs, making them one of the longest living mammals on earth, a truly miraculous feat that should be properly honored and respected!
Republican Congressman Steve Southerland and 2018 Gubernatorial candidate, Adam Putnam, are amongst politicians who have participated in these cruel festivals. Putnam shared photos on social media showing himself cheering on his daughter as she holds a terrified possum upside-down by the tail and smiles, and another of himself swinging the distressed animal on stage.
What kind of example is being set when individuals, including noted politicians, engage and encourage animal abuse? We simply cannot allow this type of "tradition" to continue. As it stands, this festival teaches the community and children that exploiting and abusing animals is an acceptable activity to look forward to on a yearly basis.
Please make a call and send our letter to Wausau Mayor Roger Hagan urging him to end the cruel treatment of possums at the yearly Wausau Possum Festival, and to celebrate these animals with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
1. Please call the Wausau Town Hall at (850) 638 1781 and ask to leave a message for Mayor Hagan.
Once connected, you can say something like, "Please let Mayor Hagan know that it is cruel and unnecessary to exploit and abuse animals at the Wausau Possum Festival. I urge him to encourage compassion and respect in his community by eliminating the harsh and frightening handling of possums at this yearly event. Thank you for passing this important message along to the mayor."
2. After your call, please personalize and submit our letter to Mayor Hagan by filling out the fields on this page.
Eliminate Cruelty from Wausau Possum Festival
Dear [Decision Maker],
I look forward to hearing from you.[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from In Defense of Animals.
© 2020 IDA