- Normani addresses Camila Cabello’s racist social media posts 4 Weeks Ago
- Mike Huckabee’s defense of Trump’s coronavirus response will make you nauseous Today 12:06 PM
- Gmail’s email filtering may affect what candidate emails you are seeing Today 11:08 AM
- Woman shares aftermath of domestic abuse: ‘This is only to raise awareness’ Today 10:40 AM
- Skai Jackson gets restraining order against Bhad Bhabie after death threat Today 10:19 AM
- Taylor Swift shades Scooter Braun in ‘The Man’ video Today 10:15 AM
- Porn stars are lining up behind Bernie Sanders Today 10:10 AM
- YouTube mom says she ‘beat’ her 2-year-old daughter for ruining her makeup kit Today 10:02 AM
- Ajit Pai’s net neutrality victory lap comes as his own repeal is under review Today 9:20 AM
- Alissa Violet is in Italy—and fans are worried she’ll get coronavirus Today 9:19 AM
- Bernie or Barry? Garth Brooks’ Sanders jersey sparks online panic Today 8:42 AM
- Netflix series ‘Followers’ is a visual treat—but lacks a clear narrative Today 6:00 AM
- Influencer got trapped under ice for TikTok clout, ‘came close to dying’ Thursday 7:59 PM
- #BernieBruh puts new spin on ‘Bernie Bro’ label, showcases support among Black voters Thursday 6:58 PM
- Camila María Concepcíon, trans activist and Netflix writer, dies at 28 Thursday 5:46 PM
With Groundhog Day approaching on this coming Sunday, the folks over at PETA are engaging in a little tradition of their own. Namely, pestering the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to retire Punxsutawney Phil and replace the animal with an animatronic groundhog.
The plea from the animal rights organization dates back to at least 2010. But because the lowes- hanging fruit is also the most delicious, they’re still at it a decade later.
In an open letter to addressed to Groundhog Club president William Deeley this week, Ingrid Newkirk, president and founder of PETA argues: “Times change. Traditions evolve. It’s long overdue for Phil to be retired.”
“As a prey species, groundhogs actively avoid humans,” Newkirk writes. “Being in close proximity to the public causes these animals great stress. When Phil is dragged out of his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds, he has no idea what’s happening. Being relegated to a library ‘habitat’ for the other days of the year doesn’t allow him or the other groundhog there to dig, burrow, or forage. It’s no kind of life for these animals.”
Counterpoint: groundhogs are also nuisance pests due to the fact that their burrows can cause extensive damage to home yards and gardens, farms, and fields—potentially injuring horses and other large farm animals. Also, they’re mean and they bite. So maybe one less groundhog on the streets the better?
At any rate, Newkirk continued to make her point.
“By creating an AI, you could keep Punxsutawney Phil at the center of Groundhog Day but in a much more progressive way,” she adds. “Talk about taking your town’s annual tradition in a fresh and innovative direction! Today’s young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn’t even worthy of a text message.”
But watching a fake groundhog being pulled from a fake hole would warrant a text message? Who are we to say what excites the youths of today!
Deeley later responded to Newkirk in a statement of his own, defending Punxsutawney Phil.
“For 134 years, we’ve done something right to keep attracting people and keep them coming,” Deeley told The Washington Post. “Why would they make a movie about it all if we did something wrong?”
To be perfectly fair, this is also not the best argument—as many forms of art don’t exactly hold up in a politically correct way, decades later.
“There has to be something that’s bringing people to this community year after year,” Deeley continued. “I’ve never had a kid walk out or see a mother say, ‘That groundhog is terrible.'”
Tens of thousands of visitors come to witness Punxsutawney Phil predict whether or not we’ll have six more weeks of winter every year. But as far as we know, no one has ever called him “terrible” before.
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.