Punxsutawney Phil needs to be retired

2/9/2018, 10:26 p.m.

As time passes, traditions that are no longer in sync with enlightened attitudes must evolve. It’s time to retire Punxsutawney, Pa.,’s annual groundhog spectacle.

All animals, including the humble groundhog, deserve to be treated with respect, not as marketing props.

Groundhogs are shy animals that avoid human contact. Being hauled out in front of a boisterous crowd is undeniably stressful for them. Phil belongs in the woods and fields, feeling sun on his back and digging for tasty treats.

Groundhog burrows can range from 8-feet to 66-feet long, with multiple exits and chambers, a far cry from Phil’s glass “home” in Punxsutawney’s public library. Because he is on display 24 hours a day year-round, Phil can’t hibernate, as groundhogs naturally do. Phil’s cage had to be renovated because he was constantly trying to escape.

If Punxsutawney, Pa., wants to attract visitors year round instead of one day a year, it must devise a fresh and innovative marketing campaign that doesn’t exploit harmless herbivores.



The writer is with the PETA Foundation.