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PETA Calls For Punxsutawney Phil's Retirement, Suggests Replacing Him With Persimmon Seeds

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- PETA is once again calling for the retirement of Punxsutawney Phil.

Ahead of Groundhog Day, the animal rights group has sent a letter to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club asking them to retire Phil, and his companion Phyllis, to a reputable animal sanctuary.

"As you know, Phil is certainly not a real meteorologist and didn't volunteer for this job. For far too long, he's been dragged out of a fake tree stump and subjected to noise, flashing lights, and crowds, against all of his natural instincts," the letter reads in part.

Instead, they want Phil to be free to follow his natural instincts of "hibernating, digging, burrowing, foraging, [and] smelling fresh air," and "not treated like an exhibit."

In 2020, PETA called on Phil's inner circle to replace him with an animatronic groundhog with artificial intelligence that can predict weather. They offered to donate one for free.

While that offer still stands, PETA also suggests the club use persimmon seeds or apple skins as weather prognostication tools.

The letter reads:

"There are plenty of ways for Punxsutawney to remain a significant tourist destination for weather forecasting. You could listen to the chirps of crickets, check the height of hornets' nests, and look at the thickness of regional apple skins and cornhusks and then issue a report. We'd also be happy to send you a persimmon tree to plant in Gobbler's Knob so that you could hold a ceremony to check the seeds annually. (They're said to be accurate in predicting the weather 25% of the time, not too far off from Phil's average.)"

Groundhog Day began on Gobbler's Knob in 1887.

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