People kill thousands of snakes in a cruel “holiday” in Texas

There are some animals that leave too many people indifferent. This is the case of rattlesnakes, in some areas in the US, every year, there is a real genocide, no one cares!

These are great traditional and popular festivals, which are widespread in Texas and other states, especially in small country towns.

They are called “Roundups”

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

They are social animals, which form very close family ties.

“You’d be amazed at how much [rattlesnakes] have things in common with us,” says Melissa Amarello, co-founder of ASP (Advocates for Snake Preservation), at The Dodo.

They give life to already trained babies, and they take care of their young during the first weeks of their lives, keeping them warm, safe from predators. In some species, expectant mothers congregate in the later stages of gestation, and give life together. They take turns caring for each other’s babies, as if they were theirs. “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Every year in Texas, thousands of these animals are crammed into pits and slaughtered for the enjoyment of an audience.

This “celebration” is a popular festival, known as a “roundup”, which takes place in several states.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Everyone is invited to catch snakes, most often by pouring diesel in their burrows, to force them out to avoid asphyxiation. With the vapors, the animals are groggy, which makes hunting easy: just bend down to pick them up. The snakes are then locked in crates, sometimes for weeks or months, without food or water, before waiting for the big day when they will be weighed and measured, before being executed.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Roundups are a tradition that was born in deep America 50 or 60 years ago. Initially, it was supposed to regulate the snake populations and protect the livestock … Even if, when we look more closely, it is just a pretext for the pleasure of killing , in view of the low losses caused by snakebites compared to other threats to herds – particularly diseases or falls.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

“The supporters of these festivals say that there is an overpopulation of snakes, and if we do nothing, they will invade everything, and so we must do something to protect ourselves,” says Melissa again. amarello. But it’s completely wrong, there is no overpopulation. No study has ever suggested that there are too many rattlesnakes, and we would need to organize these killings to control the threat. “

Their motivation: money, and an event that attracts a large number of tourists eager for exoticism. In Sweetwater alone, a small town of 11,000 people lost in the middle of Texas, the event attracts more than 30,000 people each year …

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

All participants bring the product of their hunt to a place where snakes are measured and weighed. Different prizes are awarded, in a festive atmosphere: there is a prize for the one who brought the biggest snake, a prize for the one who brought back the most animals or the one whose bucket containing the “harvest” weighs heavier.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Then, all the snakes are thrown in a big mass grave, with glass walls so that the children can also admire the show.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

People with protective shoes are constantly walking on them, crushing the animals with their boots to make them move.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

They say that they do this to stir the pile and prevent the snakes below to choke, and “because they are too stupid and they would choke each other if we did not help them. “

Totally ridiculous argument for Amarello: “If snakes choke, it’s not because they’re stupid, it’s because people have forced them to be locked in a place where there are far too many, and that they crash each other for lack of space! “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

“When they think that death is imminent, that something puts them in danger, they make their tail vibrate,” says Amarello. This muffled rustling could be translated by the cry of terror of several thousand reptiles who would scream at the same time “I am afraid! Please, get me out of here! Help ! “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

“When they are in the pits, all stacked on top of each other, they wave their tails and ring their bell, causing a racket that covers everything else.” The sounder at the end of the tail of these reptiles is actually a buzzer they use when they feel threatened “It does not mean ‘I’m going to attack you’, it means’ I’m afraid . Do not walk beside me. ‘ That sound is thousands of snakes screaming in terror. “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Then, after a while, a strange, very strong smell rises up into the air. It is a pheromone that snakes produce when they feel really threatened and stressed, to prevent others.

Amarello, who attended, explains:

“For me, it was terribly revolting, because I know very well what this smell means to them. At this point, snakes know very well that they are on the verge of death. This pheromone is an ultimate cry of despair, something to warn other snakes that there is imminent and deadly danger. The smell was extremely strong. “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Then, some snakes came out to be brought into an area supposedly “educational” for children and their parents.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

“The organizers highlight the fact that they educate the public about snakes, but it’s more of a pretext for some sort of show,” says Amarello, who runs the education section herself. the ASP snake protection organization. “They force reptiles to bite balls, they push them to attack to show how they hit their targets …”

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Finally, snakes arrive at their final destination: the killing pit.

For that, the executioners do not go there in four ways. The method is decapitation, with a machete … An extremely cruel death, says Amarello, because it does not kill them instantly!

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

“To decapitate a reptile is probably the most inhumane way to put it to death ,” she says. And this, especially because of their nervous system: As snakes have a very slow metabolism, they remain alive and conscious, and they continue to agonize for several minutes, even hours after decapitation. And we see that when we see them kill them: the mouth continues to try to breathe, while the bodies continue to move. “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

After decapitation, snake bodies are grouped together before being eviscerated and skinned. Specifically, it is to strip the animals by tearing the scaly skin, while pulling the flesh.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

For Jo-Anne McArthur, photojournalist author of the documentary We Animals, this is one of the most gloomy elements of this macabre party.

“Children can skin animals, then dip their hands in the blood, and make prints of their hands with blood on a wall by writing their name next,” says the photographer at The Dodo. “It’s really creepy. And the parents encourage the children, saying ‘Go! Pull hard ! Put your hands on, do not be afraid! ‘ “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

The snake skins are then transformed into boots, purses, and other trinkets that will be sold to tourists.

In Oklahoma, for example, these events attract a lot less people than in Texas, and snake beheadings are usually safe from public scrutiny. On the other hand, there are other practices, even more cruel according to Amarello.

“They sway snakes in a freezer until they are unable to move because they are cold-blooded animals,” she says. Then they take advantage of their immobility to sew their mouths. “

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Once the mouths of snakes sewn, people can pose for photos with.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

The worst thing is that there are animal cruelty protection laws, and that kind of practice clearly violates those laws. But nobody does anything, first of all because public opinion is much less sensitive to the fate of snakes than other animals, then because it pleases certain people, and brings in a lot of money.

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There is no way of knowing the exact number of snakes slaughtered during these holidays, since the organizers do not count them, but weigh them by the kilo. However, scientists agree that such unnecessary killings, perpetrated on populations of already fragile animals, can only harm ecosystems.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Many people are becoming indignant, even if it has been for years, in general indifference.

If it’s shocking, you can sign this petition to stop it, or make a donation to the ASP.

And share this article and talk about it so that you know it.

Source : The Dodo et

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