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PETA sues over new law aiming to legalize use of live opossum at annual New Year's Eve party

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed another lawsuit in its effort to stop the use of a wild opossum as part of a New Year's Eve celebration in the North Carolina mountains.

The animal-welfare group filed a motion Thursday in Wake County Superior Court again seeking to stop state wildlife officials from permitting the annual Possum Drop in Clay County. In place of a crystal ball, a captured opossum is lowered at midnight in a tinsel-covered box. PETA says the noise and lights traumatize the animal, which is later released.

State legislators passed a new law earlier this year aiming to give legal cover to event organizers after PETA sued in 2013.

PETA lawyers contend the measure violates the state constitution and creates a "zone of lawlessness."

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