Groundhog Day is almost upon us and PETA is back in the news once again!
The animal rights organization is asking the town of Punxsutawney to retire Phil the groundhog and replace him with a robotic one, claiming that the the crowds and noise at the annual festival upset the animal.
Gemma Vaughan, Animals in Entertainment specialist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a letter to organizers:
“These normally shy animals—who are constantly on alert when they are out of their burrows—become stressed when they are exposed to large, screaming crowds; flashing lights from perhaps hundreds of cameras; and human handling.” Adding, “We think that an animatronic groundhog would similarly mesmerize a crowd full of curious spectators in Punxsutawney.”
Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, disagrees and says that Phil is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.” (Note to kids: Stay the hell away from PA!)
What do you think? Should Punxsutawney give Phil to a sanctuary and get all Avatar up in that burrow, or is the groundhog an important part of the celebration? Chime in and share your thoughts!