Animal Cruelty: Stop the Abuse of Rattlesnakes!
Whether or not you are a snake person, we can all agree that they are a vital link in the chain of our survival. Every year in Oklahoma, hundreds of snakes are rounded up and taken to events to be provoked for amusement, to be killed for their skin and meat, and to have their mouths sewn shut so that the events guests can pose with them. Rattlesnake Round Ups happen from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma and have for over 50 years now. They began as a poorly advised effort to rid certain areas of the snake and have since grown into a tourist attraction. Texas, Georgia, and Alabama also house these Round Ups.
Aside from being cruel, the process of getting the snakes to the round up also has affects on our environment. While rattlesnakes are not burrowing creatures, however, they do take over the homes of badgers or gophers. In order to extract them from their homes, gasoline is sprayed down into the earth. This makes the home uninhabitable for possible years and puts harmful chemicals into our soil that may cause sickness to other animals.
Once the snakes are flushed from their homes, they are piled in boxes and shipped to the festival. Upon arrival, they are kept in a small space with no light or food for days. When they are finally in front of the public, they are so malnourished that few survive. In order to sew their mouths shut safely, the snakes are placed into a freezer for a short period of time, and some are defanged for extra precaution. Their mouths are then sewn shut, and they are ready for their close up. Most die from stress or starvation.
Rattlesnake numbers across the mid-west to southeast have began to diminish. While there is no answer as to the cause yet, officials are trying to get to the bottom of the situation. The snakes habitat is dwindling which is a huge contributor to the decline. Some round ups have seen this as a wake up call, and in Georgia, one Round Up has changed its name from Rattlesnake Round Up to the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival. They have stopped hunting and killing the rattlesnakes and have begun featuring presentations focused on protecting the species. This is a step in the right direction. The more people are informed of the issues, the more change can happen. Together we can stop animal cruelty – one step and one voice at a time.