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Free phil?

January 27, 2010 - Per Peterson
Once again, PETA, you’ve gone too far. The animal rights group wants organizers of the Groundhog Day festivities in Pennsylvania to use a robotic groundhog as a stand-in for Punxsutawney Phil, saying it’s unfair to keep a live animal in captivity and subject it to bright lights and huge crowds each year. Hmmm. Animals, bright lights, a mass of people. That sounds familiar. Oh yeah, they’re called zoos. Does PETA want to shut down every zoo in the United States? That’s borderline rhetorical – of course they do. But that’s not going to happen, and neither should replacing Phil with a robot. Is nothing sacred? William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says the animal is ‘‘treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.’’ First of all, yikes — better than the average child? Secondly, of course they treat Phil the right way. The February celebration is a huge draw for the tiny borough and Phil is the main attraction. The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture. Deeley said PETA isn’t interested in Phil from Feb. 2 on and is looking for publicity.


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