BRASSTOWN, NC (AP) - For most of the past 20 years, a live animal has been used in a small North Carolina town's annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop. But this year, following challenges from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the organizer says he'll no longer use a live opossum — instead, it'll be a road-kill opossum or perhaps a pot of opossum stew.


The Brasstown event involves enclosing an opossum in a tinsel-covered plastic box and lowering it to the ground at midnight, then releasing the animal.


PETA says the lights, noise and crowd can harm an opossum's nerves and health.


A judge ruled earlier this month that organizer Clay Logan could use a live opossum if he got a state permit. But Logan says he didn't have time. He says if he doesn't use a road-kill opossum or stew, it'll be something similar.


Logan says he used a dead possum once previously because of legal challenges.


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