PETA has taken aim at longtime U.S. tradition. Officials at the animal rights organization have called for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to stop using a real groundhog during its Groundhog Day celebration -- and replace it with an "A.I. Phil."
In a letter addressed to Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk says the typical animatronic creature "walks, plays, misbehaves and responds to commands," making it better than a living groundhog. She goes on to say, "Today's young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn't even worthy of a text message."
But Punxsutawney officials aren't exactly eager to make changes to an event that draws scores of people -- and lots of money -- to their town every year. "We must be doing something right to keep attracting people and keep them coming," Deeley says. "Why would they make a movie about it all if we did something wrong?"