PETA Wants to Replace Punxsutawney Phil

Lily Belcher, Staff Writer

Okay campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties because PETA is at it again demanding retirement of America’s favorite rodent prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil. The seemingly immortal groundhog has been predicting the seasons and the onset of spring since 1887, but, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, now is the time to retire Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog. 

The PETA organization is set on banning animals from every aspect of American entertainment, dinner plates, and cable weather services and has recently suggested replacing the seer with an artificial intelligence weather woodland badger who will be more accurate in predicting the changing of the seasons. 

PETA’s demand to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club came less than a week before the 2020 Groundhog’s Day, but their effort was too little too late as Phil woke to the sounds of more than 20,000 cold Americans demanding a weather prediction from the large weather wise woodchuck.  Not to mention the thousands that receive text message alerts in regards to Phil’s prediction or stream the event to household TVs and phones. But as Phil Connors, a reporter for WPBH-TV Pittsburgh noted, “Television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk’s request said being around the thicket of climate enthusiasts causes these poor creatures “great stress,” explaining the effects the tradition has on the sages’ mental health. 

PETA’s concern for animals’ mental health shouldn’t stop with the greenhouse guru of gophers. What about the number of times we’ve sent dogs to retrieve a neon green ball only to repeatedly toss it away from them again and again.  

PETA should be demanding an end to a classic game of fetch with man’s best friend. What about giving the number of times we’ve drugged our feline friends with every kitty’s favorite herbal opioid? Then again, PETA is against pet ownership all together, calling the domestication of our furry friends “an abysmal situation.”

Perhaps, Phil should be replaced with a robot as PETA is suggesting. If sports team mascots can no longer be real animals, such as the University of Georgia’ Uga the bulldog, let’s just replace Phil with a college student in an oversized animal costume with a weather app on his iPhone.

Chick-fil-A can’t use real cows and have turned to illustrations of the iconic illiterate cows. Let’s just make a cartoon prognosticator see his shadow.   Disney can’t use real bouncing tigers to portray the best friend of crop top wearing bear, let’s just replace the ridiculous tradition with an animated weather profit extraordinary. 

The Groundhog Club’s President has said he hasn’t read PETA’s letter, telling the Punxsutawney Spirit, a Pennsylvania publication, Phil “lives better than the average child in Western Pennsylvania.”  He explains that the people don’t want to see an animatronic, but a live climate celebrity.

The change won’t come anytime soon, however. Punxsutawney has no immediate plans to replace Phil, so the absurd and terribly inaccurate climate custom will continue on.