Target: President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Goal: Stop torturous killing of snakes for their skins
To supply a currently popular fashion trend, snakes are being skinned alive for purses, handbags, belts, shoes and clothes. Indonesia is one of the biggest offenders of this horrible abuse and the government needs to put a stop to it now.
Snakes have been on the planet for over 100 million years, and throughout that time have continually fought negative stereotypes. In Christianity, they are pegged as the animal that brought about man’s downfall. In an Egyptian tale, a god turns himself into a venomous snake so that he can kill two of his enemies. Today, an internet search for cruelty against snakes turns up countless pages on how to kill a snake, or how poisonous and dangerous they are.
In fact, they are surprisingly docile and non-aggressive creatures. A shivering mother snake wraps herself up around her baby snake eggs to keep them warm. Out of approximately 2,700 species, only about 375 are venomous and deadly, less than 14%. Also, they primarily only release venom on prey; a secondary reason is for self-defense.
Up to 90% of all snake skins come from wild caught snakes. To acquire their skins, a live snake’s head is nailed to a tree. Still alive, it is then cut open from head to toe and its skin is removed. Larger snakes are starved and then pumped full of water through hoses that have been jammed down their throats. This process makes it easier to remove their skins. Once skinned, they are then thrown into a heap with other mutilated and skinned snakes, and left to die, which usually takes several days. Their nervous systems are similar to humans, suggesting that they feel pain in the same way that we do.
Snakes are vital to bio-diversity, keeping the rodent population and other sources of prey numbers down. When removed, rodent species can explode, leading to disease outbreaks in humans and also extensive crop damage. More and more species are also becoming endangered. In India, snakes became a protected species after passage of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which effectively banned the snakeskin industry as well. Sign the petition below and encourage Indonesia to pass a similar law or act protecting all snake species and the rich biodiversity that they contribute to.
Dear President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
Snakes are gentle, non-aggressive creatures that deserve to be treated humanely and respected like all wildlife in this world. Several species are also endangered because of the high demand for their skins in the fashion industry. Indonesia is a wonderful country and its protection of snakes would demonstrate wisdom and concern for the beautiful land and its animal inhabitants. Please ban the torturous method of skinning a snake alive and enact a law making it illegal to kill snakes in the wild.
It can be hard to protect an animal that is both feared and venomous. However, snakes are vital to the environment and contribute greatly to Indonesia’s beautiful and rich biodiversity. They keep the rodent population down which minimizes outbreaks of disease and helps keep the eco-system in balance. Killing snakes by nailing them to a tree and cutting off their skin while conscious is barbaric and violent. Please enact a law that will protect all snake species in your country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tajai via Flickr