PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA – PETA’s solution to the use of a live groundhog for predicting the coming of spring? Build a robotic one!
Punxsutawney Phil is the animal used on Groundhog Day to predict the arrival of spring. A tradition for over 120 years, Phil is coaxed out of his box to see if he casts a shadow. A shadow indicates six more weeks of winter, and no shadow means spring will arrive early.
Groundhog Day is a beloved holiday celebrated by children throughout the country. Phil was also made famous by the Bill Murray hit comedy “Groundhog Day”.
However, the infamous animal rights group PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is calling for the end of the tradition. They believe the groundhogs “become stressed when they are exposed to large, screaming crowds; flashing lights from perhaps hundreds of cameras; and human handling.”
Their solution? The animals should be replaced by a robot Phil!
In the letter written to Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club who cares for Phil year-round, Gemma Vaughan asked that they “make the compassionate decision to use an animatronic Phil and retire the live groundhogs who are used for Groundhog Day activities to a sanctuary.”
Deeley has responded by declaring Phil’s living conditions exceptional, a climate-controlled environment that is inspected annually by the Department of Agriculture. He is quoted as saying Phil is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.”