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Groundhog Day: PETA Wants Punxsutawney Phil Replaced with Robot


PETA wants Punxsutawney Phil, the internationally famous groundhog looked to for predictions of springtime, replaced by a robot:

"Gemma Vaughan, PETA's animals in entertainment specialist, fired off a letter to groundhog club president William Deeley this week, asking for his promise that the group will forgo the use of real rodents in future Groundhog Day celebrations. Little Phil, Vaughan wrote, is a pretty unhappy fellow, 'forced to be on display year round at the local library and is denied the ability to prepare for and enter yearly hibernation.' Groundhogs are typically shy creatures, Vaughan goes on to explain, and they can become easily upset when confronted by throngs of people, loud noises and camera flashes."

They want him replaced by a robot: "According to PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman, an animatronic Phil 'would attract new and curious tourists' to Punxsutawney's annual event."

Watch Brian Williams' report on the request, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I want PETA replaced by sane activists. They should put little tap shoes on phil in response.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 28, 2010 12:26:06 PM

  2. Every year, PETA becomes more a caricature of its former serious self and damages its own efficacy. A robot groundhog? Work to change legislation in regard to the cruelty of factory farms and create deterrents for such horrors, certainly, but a celebrity groundhog? Pathetic.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Jan 28, 2010 12:27:56 PM

  3. I hear the animatronic Caddyshack gopher is looking for work.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 28, 2010 12:28:00 PM

  4. PETA ... what a joke.

    If they really wanted to end abuse and have people go veggie -- this is NOT how to do it.

    Obviously they have executives that are now running the place just as a way to make a living.

    I really like how the Ice Skater responded this week to them. Most Animal Activists I have met really have psychological issues and do not respect fellow humans.

    Posted by: Walter | Jan 28, 2010 12:36:35 PM

  5. Just to ask the question we're all thinking...

    How many Phils have we gone through now? I mean, the ceremony has been going since 1886! Did they think they could just "Lassie" us and think we wouldn't know?! Oh, Phils...

    A little off-topic, but the Google Ad at the top seems to want me to buy Groundhog Day Decorations... what the hell is a Groundhog Day decoration?!

    Posted by: Alexander | Jan 28, 2010 12:57:37 PM

  6. They have a great Latin species name: Marmota monax

    Posted by: anon | Jan 28, 2010 1:19:48 PM

  7. PLEASE note that the man holding that flea infested pseudo-rat is wearing an American Flag designed scarf. THAT is a constructed move, not a stick-hand-in-closet-garb-something-to-wear move. He's telling people (PETA?) that to oppose this goofy event they are dealing not with a pseudo-rat BUT THE AMERICAN FLAG! Gay America, take note. When you ask for Equality WAVE THAT FLAG!

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 28, 2010 1:24:55 PM

  8. PETA is a fucking joke.

    The grand poo-bah Ingrid Newkirk is one fucked up mess.

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Jan 28, 2010 1:30:03 PM

  9. "How many Phils have we gone through now?"

    Ya know for some of the folks who post here, that's not going to be an answerable question.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 28, 2010 1:32:08 PM

  10. How about People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans instead of idiots creating non-issues?

    Posted by: qjersey | Jan 28, 2010 1:33:52 PM

  11. I read a statistic in this week's New York Magazine that PETA has killed 85% of all the animals it has ever rescued. What use are they if they are going to do that?

    The article goes on to skewer PETA pretty well (and with a very reasonable argument). Those people are even more worthless and self-righteous than I had ever imagined.

    Posted by: MT | Jan 28, 2010 1:34:59 PM

  12. Talfaz, there's really no ethical objection to cannibalism if you're a meat eater. I've never met an openly gay vegetarian...I mean one that only ate vegetables. At least in this case, the animal in question has consented to being can't say that that is the case of slaughter animals.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 28, 2010 1:36:05 PM

  13. Lol.

    Posted by: Lexxvs | Jan 28, 2010 1:45:09 PM

  14. You never, Tank, met a gay man who ate only vegetables? My last BF was a "raw foodist," and you can Google that.

    Posted by: Omira | Jan 28, 2010 1:50:18 PM

  15. "Gay America, take note. When you ask for Equality WAVE THAT FLAG!"


    By the by, I agree, the Caddyshack gopher is probably one step off of Celebrity Rehab by now, bet he works cheap.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Jan 28, 2010 1:50:37 PM

  16. Omira, does that mean you didn't wear a condom with him? That's very irresponsible. Always buckle up.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 28, 2010 2:07:38 PM

  17. I'm starting to think that being a member of PETA and being a Scientologist are basically the same thing.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 28, 2010 2:55:48 PM

  18. I'm a vegan, but I'll have to agree that PETA is a bit off the deep end here-- er, all the time.

    Posted by: AdamO | Jan 28, 2010 4:06:09 PM

  19. I happen to be an openly gay vegan. Not everyone agrees with PETA's tactics (My personal 'tactics' are more philosophically aligned with those of Mercy for Animals), but you can't really discredit them for openly speaking out against all forms of animal exploitation--something we vegans are morally and ethically opposed to. Different people are affected through different tactics. We can say the same about gay rights organizations. The Human Rights Campaign PISSES me off with their waffling 'tactics.' Still, I won't discredit the good work they do.

    PETA (and especially Ingrid Newkirk) realize that we live in a sensationalist world where people respond to humorous ("insane" as some of you may say) images and tactics. Shock works to affect some people; so does infuriaton. Its efficacy can be debated against more 'peaceful' approaches, and both sides can make fair arguments. However, the intentions and the people behind them shouldn't be deemed "insane" just because you don't agree with the methods employed. That's unfair to any group, any cause.

    Also, for the record, I know a lot of vegans (being one, of course), and nothing offends me more than when people say things like, "What are they doing for humans?" IT'S IRRELEVANT!!! HOWEVER, for the record, ALL of the vegans I know are active in human rights organizations--vocally (through protests) and monetarily. All of my vegan friends have stood up against Prop 8, giving their time and money. All of my vegan friends have given to help towards relief in Haiti. Usually, the people who make the claim that vegans and animal rights activists don't do anything for people are the ones who aren't actually doing anything for people. Vegans understand that affecting real change begins with a respect for ALL life.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 28, 2010 4:19:55 PM

  20. PETA needs to STFU. They put more animals to death each year than they save. They are a terrible organization, and care only about bullying people and not the real welfare of animals.

    Posted by: devilgirl | Jan 28, 2010 4:31:20 PM

  21. PETA should be working on education and legislation.

    You just know that "Phil" has to be very well treated.

    There is an element in PETA that makes me think of the Fred Phelps - Westboro Baptist Church wingnuts.

    It's this kind of pronouncement from PETA that makes the organization a laughing stock.

    No wonder most people have no respect for this organization. In fact, they think they're lunatics.

    Posted by: Will | Jan 28, 2010 5:46:03 PM

  22. People don't have a very high opinion of vegetarians in general in the united states. It's because we're a meat eating country. I don't know if it's the fact that they can't ethically justify eating meat (I do, and know it's wrong), because of the suffering that the animals endure to provide it for consumption. MEh, I don't think that's deep. I think it's likely the usual sexism mixed with tradition and enjoyment. I eat meat (lol!), but it's unjustifiable given the degree of torture that animals are subjected in factory farms, etc. No pleasure derived from eating the flesh of beings that can suffer and do, in fact, suffer justifies the suffering that occurred to bring about that pleasure. So you can see it's really not that eating animals is bad simpliciter (or in and of itself), but how those animals are prepared...and anyone who eats meat supports those practices (including myself). As to helping humans, that's another ethical obligation, too. It doesn't excuse what we do to non-human animals, though.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 28, 2010 5:57:06 PM

  23. you know, i've kept my opinions about PETA to myself for years now - even tried to be open-minded about their causes. i never supported or contributed to their movements but i didn't berate them either...til now.

    fuck PETA, this is beyond all rationality. i'm fucking over them. and! i'm tired of them objectifying women to increase awareness. airbrushing occurs in nature?

    Posted by: m | Jan 28, 2010 6:43:45 PM

  24. I always thought PETA was nutty, but after they tried to exploit Tim McLean's murder ( for attention it was painfully obvious how much disregard they have for human life. Their record with shelter animals also shows they have little regard for animals either. All that matters is money and presstime. And sorry for the extremely depressing link, but that is just how awful PETA is.

    Posted by: Karin | Jan 28, 2010 9:14:34 PM

  25. I think PETA should be replaced by robots!
    Anything they do not agree with, is vile, bad, inhumane blah blah blah, As a Canadian whose nation was founded on the Fur Trade, I think that responsible activists would realize that we as humans have harvested animals, fish. etc for various uses for millenia, if it's done in a humane way fine, if not change methods.
    They managed to cripple the Seal hunt by brainwashing the Europeans that cute baby seals are still being clubbed and shot, (they aren't) the seals hunted now are older and not the cute fluffy white ones we used to see. But the EU recently passed a law banning Seal oriented goods except those from the Inuit (here is the kicker the Inuit people can't sell anything because of the law since the Europeans won't touch sealskin products.) On the upside Canada has discovered that China is a HUGE market for these items since they are less likely to care. The Chinese, will eat or wear anything that walks,swims or fly's. PETA has morphed into a radical fringe organization not the responsible activists they once were.

    Posted by: Darrell | Jan 30, 2010 3:03:54 PM

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