PETA to Protest Defense Secretary Austin Over Snake-Blood Drinking and Other Cobra-Killing Drills

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Washington – Brandishing giant photos of Marines drinking snakes’ blood, PETA protesters will descend on the Pentagon on Thursday to demand that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III end the use of live animals during the annual Cobra Gold military exercise, in which Marines skin and eat live geckos, chomp on live scorpions and tarantulas, and decapitate cobras and drink their blood.

When:    Thursday, April 8, 12 noon

Where:    The Pentagon (To reach the protest area from the Fashion Centre Parking Garage, walk under the tunnel and across the South Parking Lot. From the Metro, go up the escalators and walk toward Pentagon City. The protest area is on the left before the checkpoint on N. Rotary Road.)

“Slurping snake blood and eating live animals during Cobra Gold is cruel and poses the risk of the transmission of a dangerous zoonotic disease potentially akin to COVID-19,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is pushing Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to stop sullying Marines’ honor and risking public health with these gruesome bloodlust frat-like parties camouflaged as drills.”

Cobra Gold is purportedly about survival training, but officials have admitted that the actual intention is to build camaraderie among troops—which can be done in other ways. Department of Defense policy requires that non-animal training methods be used whenever possible, and there are numerous food-procurement training options—from books and videos to virtual reality and computer simulations—that don’t harm animals and that have been adopted by various U.S. military facilities after they heard from PETA.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind