PETA wants animatronic groundhog: 'Who are they kidding''
Punxsutawney Phil might be the most pampered groundhog in the world, but that's not good enough for the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
They sent a letter to Phil's handlers, urging them to use a robotic rodent rather than the real Phil on Tuesday.
"Make the compassionate decision to use an animatronic Phil and retire the live groundhogs who are used for Groundhog Day activities to a sanctuary," wrote Gemma Vaughan, an animals in entertainment specialist for PETA. "Tradition is no excuse for cruelty."
The letter calls it "cruel" to keep groundhogs on display year-round, adding that groundhogs are shy creatures that become stressed when handled by humans or facing large crowds.
A proposal to replace the iconic Phil is blasphemous, said Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
"I mean, come on, this is just crazy," Deeley said Wednesday.
"Phil is probably treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania," Deeley said. "He's got air-conditioning in the summer, his pen is heated in winter. ... He has everything but a TV in there. What more do you want?"
Phil, who is said to be 124 years old, lives year-round in a pen in the town library with three other groundhogs. "I think one of them is named Stinky or something," Deeley said.
Every Feb. 2, Phil is the honored guest at an early-morning party at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded area outside of town where thousands of tourists watch Phil issue his annual weather forecast. As per legend, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, there will be an early spring.
Deeley would not predict whether Phil will see his shadow this year. "But I think I've had enough of winter," he said.
He has similar feelings for PETA.
"Who are they kidding• We probably should have just taken the e-mail and deleted it."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defense takes aim at Ravens QB Flacco
- Penn Hills man arrested in fatal Elliott home invasion
- Penguins GM Rutherford: Malkin’s play belies fact he missed training camp
- Evaporating cap on Pa. gasoline taxes to offset drops at pump
- High school football roundup: No. 13 Riverside upsets Beth-Center in 1st round
- Steelers notebook: Ravens enter short-handed at tight end
- Young leads Pitt’s new-look lineup past IUP in exhibition opener
- Attorney General Kane injured in auto accident
- Armstrong trying new program to have instruction when weather closes schools
- Coastal Division lead within reach for Panthers
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation