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According to Groundhog Day folklore, if groundhogs see their shadow when they come out of their burrow on February 2, there will be six more weeks of winter. If they don’t see their shadow, spring will arrive early. But this is just a myth, of course—even though groundhogs are intelligent and self-aware, they can’t predict the weather. Still, events across the country celebrate this tired tradition by dragging sensitive groundhogs out of hibernation and displaying them as props in front of rowdy crowds.
Marion, Ohio, radio station WMRN-AM plans to use a live groundhog (known as Buckeye Chuck) supplied by Kokas Exotics—which is only licensed to breed and sell animals, not exhibit them—at its Groundhog Day event. Harassing a groundhog in a stressful, unfamiliar environment is always cruel, but in this case it would also be illegal—and PETA is calling on the radio station to commit to hosting groundhog-free events moving forward. We’ve even placed a billboard across the street from WMRN’s studios:
Kokas has unlawfully supplied a groundhog for WMRN’s annual Buckeye Chuck events for years. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture learned about last year’s display, the agency cited the supplier for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Since 2011, Kokas has received nearly 120 citations for violations of the AWA, including more than 70 in 2022 alone, and the agency even suspended Kokas’ license for 21 days due to this extensive record.
Groundhogs are shy, sensitive individuals who live in underground burrows that can span many acres, and using them as props for folklore-based events is no cause for celebration—it’s a cruel form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
Please politely ask WMRN to replace Buckeye Chuck with a creative alternative, such as a costumed mascot, and continue its Groundhog Day tradition in a progressive, innovative way that isn’t harmful to animals. Feel free to use the sample letter below, but it’s always more powerful to use your own words.