Free Philly!

Georgia Kirkendall

That’s right- Punxsutawney Phil must be released! The PETA, people for the ethical treatment of animals, has had enough. They want Phil to retire and be replaced with a robot. Why? “When Phil is dragged out of his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds, he has no idea what’s happening,” argues PETA. “Being relegated to a library ‘habitat’ for the other days of the year doesn’t allow him or the other groundhogs there to dig, burrow, or forage.” PETA even tweeted that “It’s way overdue for long-suffering #PunxsutawneyPhil to be retired.”

The Groundhog Club’s response? On their Facebook page, co-handler John Griffiths and another member introduced an artificial intelligence creation of their own, which turned out to be Bill Deely, the president of the club. On-screen, Deely put on some robot moves. “We found some old bicycle parts, inwards out of an old Pac-Man game, and this is what we came up with,” said Griffiths sarcastically, referring to the president. 

Obviously, PETA’s demands were not taken seriously. “Phil lives better than the average child in Western Pennsylvania,” said Deely. So, it looks like the groundhog will get to keep his job. Artificial intelligence will have to find work elsewhere, even if it is better at predicting the weather than good old Phil.