Sure it’s no Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving, but each February we look forward to Groundhog Day with hopes that Punxsutawney Phil pops out of his hole and sees his shadow, signaling an early spring is on the horizon.
But soon we may possibly be on the lookout for a giant gold coin rather than a groundhog–this isn’t St. Patrick’s Day, is it?
Ingrid Newkirk, president of The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, otherwise known as PETA, has written a letter to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club president Tom Dunkel asking that a “giant gold coin” replace Punxsutawney Phil’s role on Groundhog Day.
In Newkirk’s eyes Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions are no more reliable than a coin toss, and Phil should be able to “live out his days at a reputable sanctuary.”
According to PETA groundhogs are naturally shy animals who enjoy burrowing, exploring, and hibernating–all of which are impossible to do in the small enclosure Phil is kept in year-round.
Groundhogs can’t make heads or tails of the weather forecast and shouldn’t be jostled around by large members of a different species and thrust in front of noisy crowds for a photo op. PETA is urging The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to send Phil to a reputable sanctuary that will give him the care he needs and not to treat him as a wildlife prop.
PETA isn’t stopping there, though.
They also suggested Groundhog Day find a new name, such as “Weather There’ll Be More Winter Day,” in hopes to set an example for how to chuck the tradition of the holiday.
Other suggestions from PETA, which still stand, include replacing Phil with a willing human who would live in his small enclosure and take his place making weather predictions, or planting a persimmon tree whose seeds are believed by some farmers to indicate the coming weather.
According to PIX11, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has not responded to a request for comment. Newkirk’s full letter can be found here.