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PETA Wants to Replace Punxsutawney Phil with a Coin: 'He Is Not a Meteorologist'

The animal-rights organization has written a letter to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club in an effort to change up the winter tradition

<p>Brett Carlsen/Getty Images</p> Punxsutawney Phil

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Punxsutawney Phil
  • PETA has written a letter to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, asking the group to retire the rodent this year in favor of a giant coin

  • This is not the first year that the organization has sought a replacement for the tradition

  • PETA’s goal is to protect the groundhog, who it says is “a shy, solitary animal"

PETA has a proposal for Punxsutawney Phil.

The animal rights organization has written a letter to Tom Dunkel, president of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, asking the group to retire the rodent this year in favor of a giant coin.

“He is not a meteorologist, and he deserves better than to be exploited every year for tourism money,” PETA wrote in a letter posted on its website about the groundhog.

In place of the animal, PETA is offering a large coin to be used in a toss for this year’s gathering on Feb. 2, when Phil declares whether or not he has seen his shadow.

Related: 5 Burning (Burrowing?) Questions About Groundhog Day, Answered

“Should kindness prevail, the huge coin could easily replace him as the Pennsylvania town’s gimmick to draw in tourists,” PETA wrote.

This is not the first year that the organization has sought a replacement for the tradition.

In 2022, the group asked officials to use a persimmon tree to predict the weather, per PETA's website. Two years earlier, PETA argued that the animal should be swapped out for an animatronic version that would be equipped with artificial intelligence capable of more accurately predicting the weather.

Related: PETA Calls for Punxsutawney Phil to Be Replaced By Robot Groundhog for Groundhog Day Duties  

PETA’s goal is to protect the groundhog, who it says is “a shy, solitary animal.”

“They don’t want to live in confinement in a local library, where they can’t do anything that’s natural and important to them. They also don’t want to be used to prognosticate the weather or be exposed to flashing cameras, human handling or noisy crowds,” the letter claimed.

A representative with The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Last year, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.

A similar prediction next month would seemingly not sit well with those in many parts of the country who have been dealing with an already harsh winter this year.

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