PENN -Times change. Traditions evolve. It’s long overdue for Phil to be retired, said PETA in a letter to Bill Deeley, President of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Their suggestion a special tree that can actually predict the weather.
PETA says that groundhogs actively avoid humans and being close to the groundhog on a special day and tradition causes Phil stress.
“As a prey species, groundhogs actively avoid humans. 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,” PETA said in a letter.
Instead, they suggest persimmon seeds predict the weather more accurately than Punxsutawney Phil
PETA’s letter notes that persimmon seeds are said to predict the weather correctly about a quarter of the time—one study even claimed 85% accuracy. Phil has no idea what the weather will be or at least he’s not telling in ways humans can interpret. The groundhog club could spare Phil noisy crowds, bright lights, and near-constant confinement in a library basement by doing the humane thing: switching to a ceremony in which an official can check the persimmon seeds and even throw in other prognosticators, such as the thickness of apple skins. Alternatively, the club could accept PETA’s standing offer of a free animatronic groundhog that would actually predict the weather using artificial intelligence.
“Phil’s an expert in burrowing, foraging, and living the life nature intended for him, not in meteorology,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is hoping to help the groundhog club kick off a kinder February 2 and let Phil (and his companion) go to a reputable sanctuary, where he can live without worry, without being picked up and whirled about, and engage in the natural behavior denied him in his Plexiglas enclosure.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
This, “isn’t even worthy of a text message, ” said the group, and, “Ignoring the nation’s fast-changing demographics might well prove the end of Groundhog Day.”
To read the full letter click here: https://www.peta.org/media/news-releases/peta-pitches-groundhog-day-prediction-proxy-using-persimmons/