PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog handler Ben Hughes pets Punxsutawney Phil, while co-handler John Griffiths holds him after he saw his shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter during festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Feb 2, 2008. Groundhog Day is a popular traditon in the United States and Canada. This year a crowd of 40,000 spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If the groundhog sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of 6 more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. If he doesn't see his shadow, it is a sign of an early spring and he stays above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is requesting a robotic stand-in for the furry favorite of the beloved Groundhog Day festival known 'round the world. PETA says it’s unfair to keep Phil in captivity and then subject him to huge crowds and bright lights every Feb. 2.
We could understand PETA’s fears for Punxsutawney Phil’s well being if Bill Murray was still plotting the furry fellow’s demise, but this is not the case.
The animal is “being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania,” William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, said.
The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.
Tens of thousands of revelers go to Punxsutawney, Pa., every Groundhog Day, where the mayor of the town brings Phil out of his burrow and “asks” the creature is he can see his shadow.
Tradition states that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring will come early.
There is no guarantee of an accurate prediction if the groundhog is a robot.