Rattlesnake roundups are festivals that are held annually across much of the United States. The snakes used in these roundups are first captured from their natural habitats. In many cases gasoline is poured into dens to force out the snakes. During the roundups the snakes are subjected to brutal torture including being kicked, stomped on, whipped, burned, and skinned alive. Snakes are then callously killed by decapitation.
False information on snakebites are given out at roundups to inspire fear and the justification of the barbaric animal cruelty and disregard of life that is carried out. Roundups account for the deaths of over 100,000 snakes annually across the United States (American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists).
One of the most alarming aspects of rattlesnake roundups is that they are considered family entertainment. They are often put on like fairs and carnivals. Here children receive the disturbing message that is it acceptable to torture and kill animals mainly those that are deemed as dangerous and unappealing.
Please take a moment to write to the State Regulatory Agencies and ask them to bring an immediate halt to all rattlesnake roundups in their state. Below is a list of states in which rattlesnake roundups occur and the contact information for the State Regulatory Agencies.
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To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to take effective and immediate action to end all rattlesnake roundups in your state.
A recent year-long, nationwide investigation into rattlesnake roundups revealed that:
Rattlesnake roundups are grossly inhumane. Snakes are driven from resting areas with toxic chemicals including gasoline, are held for weeks or months without food or water in crowded and unsanitary conditions, are roughly handled during roundups (including kicking, stomping, and whipping), are often skinned alive or have their mouths sewn shut, and are killed using methods that are inappropriate for reptiles.
Rattlesnake roundups are environmentally destructive. Rattlesnake populations are being harmed by collections for roundups. The toxic chemicals used to collect snakes are destructive to all wildlife that come in contact with them. Burrows used by snakes and other wildlife (including federally protected species) are destroyed during collection, and snakes transported long distances to roundups have been released and have become established in areas where they did not previously exist.
Rattlesnake roundups pose a public health hazard. Roundups unnecessarily bring members of the public in close contact with venomous reptiles and encourage reckless behavior around rattlesnakes. Rattlesnake meat sold at roundups is from snakes killed under unsanitary conditions, so it may contain harmful bacteria and parasites as well as residues from the toxic chemicals used during collection. Those same toxic chemicals can also contaminate groundwater used by humans, livestock and wildlife. Finally, communities in which roundups take place must bear the costs of medical treatment for any bites that occur during the roundup, and such bites reduce the local antivenin supply.
Furthermore, there is a demonstrated link between violence and cruelty to animals and violence toward humans. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies, when discussing serious violence to humans, often note that a history of violence to animals is a characteristic in the perpetrator. It is difficult to conceive of such unmitigated and unjustified cruelty as that exhibited in rattlesnake roundups. Moreover, the pervasive involvement of children as spectators or participants in the rattlesnake roundups provides an even greater rationale for serious concern over the effects of these events.
In today’s world, there can be no justification for the continuation of these brutal, inhumane, and counter-educational events. I urge you to take immediate and responsible action to eliminate rattlesnake roundups.
* This is a re-post of Matt Ellerbeck, from Snake Conservation 101