By Marti Maguire RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) – North Carolina is poised to adopt its third law in as many years aimed at ensuring a rural community can continue to drop a live opossum to ring in the New Year. A bill that would exempt the opossum, a cat-sized marsupial, from state wildlife protections from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 passed the state senate by a wide margin Thursday after earning house approval in April. The exemption is meant to thwart legal challenges brought by animal welfare advocates who say Brasstown’s New Year’s Eve tradition is cruel. For decades, the community has lowered an opossum in a Plexiglas box from the roof of the general store, imitating the annual ball drop in New York City.
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