Snakes Win! Apache Rattlesnake Festival Cancels Cruel Photo Ops Following Push From PETA

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Apache, Okla. – After hearing from thousands of PETA members and supporters, the Apache Rattlesnake Festival dropped vendors who sew snakes’ mouths shut—a crude procedure that leaves them unable to hydrate or take in any form of nourishment for days—so that people can pose with them for “scary” photo ops.

“The festival’s decision to cancel this cruel exhibit protects rattlesnakes from being mutilated and used as props for human amusement,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “This is an important step, and PETA is urging the Apache Rattlesnake Festival to take a few more, move into the 21st century, and leave all snakes in peace.”

In PETA’s letter to Caddo County officials, the group requested an investigation and the pursuit of appropriate cruelty-to-animals charges, citing a state law that makes it a felony to “willfully or maliciously torture, destroy or kill, or cruelly beat or injure, maim or mutilate any animal in subjugation or captivity, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to the person or to another, or deprive any such animal of necessary food [or] drink.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, 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