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The annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas is the largest of its kind in the world. First started in 1958 to protect livestock from the snakes, rattlesnakes actually present relatively little danger to livestock.The average annual catch is 12,000 pounds of Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
Every second weekend in March, hordes of hunters comb the countryside to capture masses of reptiles. Those who collect rattlesnakes for the roundup commonly use gasoline and other toxins to drive snakes out of their dens or burrow, polluting the soil rendering the dens unuseful for as many as 25 other species. After capture, collectors bring them to the Nolan County Coliseum, where they are skinned and decapitated. Some are kept for months in containers with no food or water, an extremely cruel act toward these snakes.
Before the snakes are actually killed, some things they endure at roundups are; freezing snakes for up to 2 hours render them immobile, sewing their mouth shut so they can't bite, pulling fangs out of live snakes, severing rattles from live snakes, Filling snakes full of liquor to sedate them, tormenting snakes with sticks and objects to induce them to strike, performing stunts such as biting snakes and "pancaking, snakes- where a handler presses a coiled snake between his palms, leaving snakes crowded for days in hot dry snake pits or cages, packing snake cages so full that the bottom snakes get crushed, holding or dangling snakes in such a way that it injures their spine, treating snakes roughly – kicking them, tossing them into piles, using live snakes as accessories in contests and games and burning snakes with cigarettes.
The weekend event, which includes a rattlesnake eating contest, is not inspected by any health agency, and is offered to the public with great risk. People who consume this meat are at risk for contracting salmonella and other diseases.
In addition to polluting the soil to capture the snakes, and putting public safty at risk by eating them, rattlesnake roundups flagrantly display public cruelty to rattlesnakes, including torture, dismemberment and death.
We ask Sweetwater to teach children the importance of rattlesnakes in the environment. Irresponsible actions rattlesnake roundups promote are detrimental to the residents, especially children. Stop the cruelty of rattlesnake roundups, and preserve our wildlife, our natural heritage, and our wildlife diversity.
Texas Governor Rick Perry
PO Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Phone: (512) 463-2000
Fax: (512) 463-1849
122 C St., NW, Ste. 200
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 638-3927
Fax: (202) 628-1943
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