U.S. Marines Nix Snake Blood Ritual at Cobra Gold 2021 After Outcry

For Immediate Release:
August 16, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – Following a vigorous PETA campaign that included formal complaints to top Department of Defense officials and protests outside the Pentagon, the Royal Thai Embassy, and the home of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, a representative of the Thai armed forces has reported to PETA that no snakes, lizards, or any other animals were used or killed in this year’s Cobra Gold military exercises in Thailand.

“PETA exposed the fact that forcing service members to eat animals alive and suck down cobra blood is dangerous, cruel, and likely illegal,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “Such frat boy–style barbarity needs to be relegated to the history books, and this year demonstrates that no animals should ever again be used at Cobra Gold events.”

During last year’s Cobra Gold, U.S. Marines and instructors were recorded killing chickens with their bare hands, skinning and eating live geckos, consuming live scorpions and tarantulas, decapitating cobras and drinking their blood, and otherwise reveling in the ritualistic killing and consumption of animals—all acts that would violate U.S. cruelty-to-animals laws and, arguably, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

As part of its campaign, PETA filed a petition for rulemaking to Austin III and complaints to Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger, then–Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Vice Admiral John V. Fuller.

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

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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