PETA Calls on Punxsutawney Phil to Retire

Credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP

Let the weather-forecasting groundhog retire, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is saying.

In a letter to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club on Monday, PETA called for Punxsutawney Phil to step down and be replaced with an animatronic groundhog. Every year on Feb. 2, Phil is taken from his hole and held up to a crowd of flashing lights, all for the sake of determining whether there will be six more weeks of winter.

As tradition goes, Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day. A groundhog is said to forecast the weather by looking for his shadow. If it is sunny and he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, then supposedly the forecast calls for an early spring.

PETA claims that the situation is highly stressful on Phil, who cannot get away or go back inside his burrow. His current accommodations also do not allow him to dig or forage like other groundhogs. In fact, Phil lives in a man-made, climate-controlled and light-regulated zoo, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s website.

PETA says that Punxsutawney should utilize existing technologies and bring out an artificially intelligent groundhog that could reliably predict the weather.

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