Animal rights group: Replace Punxsutawney Phil with robot
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — An animal rights group wants organizers of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it’s unfair to keep the animal in captivity and subject him to the huge crowds and bright lights that accompany tens of thousands of revelers each Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, a tiny borough about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. PETA is suggesting the use of an animatronic model.
But William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says the animal is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.” The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Deeley says PETA isn’t interested in Phil from Feb. 2 on, and is looking for publicity.
“The popularity of using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronic animals instead of live animals is rising. Performances such as “Walking With Dinosaurs, the Live Experience”—a theatrical show in which animatronic dinosaurs roar, stomp, and chase each other around an arena—have been taking audiences by storm. Other popular exhibitions have featured robotic penguins and dolphins who swim and communicate just like real animals do, and we think that an animatronic groundhog would similarly mesmerize a crowd full of curious spectators in Punxsutawney.”
Well, I can see this coming. Punxsutawney has told PETA to bugger off, and now PETA will show up next Tuesday and make some sort of idiotic protest to get news media attention.
In other news, I hear Phil Jones may soon be available. If he saw his shadow it would be six more months of avoiding FOI requests.