Not flippin' kidding: New push to eliminate 'forecasting' groundhog

 January 24, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

With the world-famous Groundhog Day approaching Feb. 2, there's a fresh effort to replace the animal used in the shadowy weather prognostication in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

And this time, PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is hoping the public flips literally for their new idea.

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt," the group says, "a groundhog's weather prediction is no more accurate than flipping a coin. And PETA has quite the coin trick up our sleeve to urge compassion for a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil.

"He is not a meteorologist and deserves better than to be exploited every year for tourism money."

Each year on Feb. 2, during a time when groundhogs typically hibernate, a ceremony takes place to note if Phil will emerge and predict an early spring, or six more weeks of winter if his shadow is seen.

The animal-rights activists wrote to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's president, Tom Dunkel, "offering to toss the club a giant coin if it agrees to send Phil to a reputable sanctuary. Should kindness prevail, the huge coin could easily replace him as the Pennsylvania town's gimmick to draw in tourists."

The group claims, "Every groundhog is someone," noting the critters "are shy, solitary animals who socialize with other groundhogs only to choose a partner. They are skilled swimmers and climbers and create complex, multichambered burrows that even have separate 'bathrooms.'

"They don't want to live in confinement in a local library, where they can't do anything that's natural and important to them. They also don't want to be used to prognosticate the weather or be exposed to flashing cameras, human handling, or noisy crowds.

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