PETA Wants Punxsutawney Phil To Be Replaced With AI Groundhog

January 30, 2020
A tradition of Punxsutawney Phil predicting the end of winter could come to an end.

Jeff Swensen / Stringer / Getty Images

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PETA never stops fighting for animal rights, even if that means bucking at tradition.

The organization has set its sights on Groundhog Day for the latest attempt to "do right by a long suffering animal," according to a press release.

With a little innovation, PETA says that The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club could relieve Punxsutawney Phil of his weather forecasting duties and replace him with an animatronic groundhog that has the actual ability to predict the weather, or the end of winter.

In a letter sent to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, PETA urges president Bill Deely to consider the harm that is done to Phil and the other Punxsutawney each year.

"When Phil is dragged out of his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds, he has no idea what's happening," the letter reads. "Being relegated to a library "habitat" for the other days of the year doesn't allow him or the other groundhog there to dig, burrow, or forage. It's no kind of life for these animals."

It goes on to explain that technological advancement effectively render Phil's services unneccessary.

"An AI Phil would renew interest in Punxsutawney, generating a great deal of buzz, much like Sony's robot dog "aibo," which walks, plays, misbehaves, and responds to commands," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, wrote. "By creating an AI Phil, you could keep Punxsutawney at the center of Groundhog Day but in a much more progressive way."

Despite PETA's efforts, it doesn't seem that the club is open to the idea of giving Phil some time off.

“PETA wants to piggyback off of [Phil’s> fame for their own publicity," Deely told TribLive. “I think the crowd for this year’s Groundhog Day could be one of the largest ever.”

Groundhog Day is Sunday, February 2.

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