Groundhog Day (February 2) is just around the corner, and the misguided folks at PETA are generating pointless controversy by demanding its icon be freed.
That would be Punxsutawney Phil, the affable rodent who emerges each year at Gobbler's Knob to dictate if winter shall continue or early spring commence.
For those keeping score, he's prognosticated six more weeks of winter in 98 of his 112 weather readings - although PETA hopes he won't make his 113th.
The controversial animal-rights group wants to take Punxsutawney Phil away from Gobbler's Knob and give the guy a retirement at an animal sanctuary.
In his place, they are proposing a robot groundhog.
Punxsutawney Phil rules. Groundhog Day is fun. Eat it, PETA!
Gemma Vaughan, PETA's animals in entertainment specialist (really) fired off a letter to Punxsutawney Groundhog Club president William Deeley this week, imploring the organization to forgo the use of real rodents in future Groundhog Days.
Deeley responded in a statement to the Associated Press that the world-famous groundhog is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania."
Furthermore, Phil's treatment conforms to the standards of the state's agriculture department, which visits him at the town's Groundhog Museum annually.
Still, PETA V.P. Tracy Reiman is lobbying for an animatronic Phil, who "would attract new and curious tourists" to Punxsutawney's annual event. Please.
You know what actually attracts tourists? Tradition. You know what might actually help animals receive more ethical treatment en masse? Not this!
Are ridiculous PR stunts really the best way to advance a cause, or are they just out for attention? These people are the Tila Tequila of non-profits.
You tell us, though: I'm on team ...