Every March, young women in Sweetwater, Texas, vie for the title of Miss Snake Charmer at the annual rattlesnake roundup. Contestants decapitate snakes, skin them, and wipe their bloody hands on the “honor” wall.
This year’s, er, winner, Laney Wallace, couldn’t contain her glee, saying, “Tomorrow I get to skin snakes and chop their heads off, and I am super-excited about it.”
|Mauro Luna/cc by 2.0|
Prior to the event, rattlesnakes (and other nontargeted animals) are forced out of their dens with gasoline fumes and hooks and dumped into cramped crates or pillow cases. They are then hauled to an arena where the public can watch as they are whipped against the floor, bludgeoned, decapitated, and skinned. Attendees can eat the snakes’ flesh and buy products made out of their skin. Some snakes may have their mouths sewn shut so that they can be manhandled by the public and used as photo props.
PETA has written to the Jaycees, the sponsor of this barbaric event, asking them to find another promotion that doesn’t involve the mass slaughter of reptiles. You can help snakes by contacting the Jaycees and letting the group know that you are appalled by its support of this carnage. And remember—never buy a purse, a belt, or shoes made from the skins of snakes or other animals.