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PETA offers to replace Punxsutawney Phil with giant gold coin

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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (KDKA) -- PETA is offering to send a giant gold coin to replace Punxsutawney Phil.

The animal rights organization wrote a letter to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's president saying they'd send a giant coin in exchange for Phil's release to a reputable sanctuary. 

Using multiple coin toss puns, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk points out in her letter that Phil's predictions are correct about 40% of the time, so flipping a coin would give a more accurate forecast. 

PETA is offering to send a giant gold coin to replace Punxsutawney Phil. (Photo: PETA)

"Groundhogs can't make heads or tails of the weather forecast and shouldn't be jostled around by large members of a different species and thrust in front of noisy crowds for a photo op," Newkirk said in a news release. "PETA is urging The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to send Phil to a reputable sanctuary that will give him the care he needs and not to treat him as a wildlife prop."

PETA calls Groundhog Day inhumane, saying groundhogs are highly intelligent animals that enjoy burrowing, exploring and hibernating -- activities Phil can't do in the small enclosure where he's kept.

Groundhog Day brings more than 20,000 visitors to Punxsutawney each year for the festivities. According to the legend, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring. A tongue-in-cheek FAQ on The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's website says Phil has been making 100% accurate predictions since 1886 and has lived so long by drinking the "elixir of life." 

PETA said its previous offer to send a willing human replacement for Phil who would live in his small enclosure and make "unscientific weather predictions" still stands. 

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