Target: Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Goal: Stop the gassing and slaughter of rattlesnakes
This weekend a mass killing will take place in Sweetwater, Texas. Rattlesnakes are set to be gassed into a somnambulistic state before being rounded up and beheaded, skinned, and eaten at a ‘family’ event. The rattlesnakes are gassed out of their underground dens and forced to retreat to the surface, where they are easily captured in their stupor. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC) had the opportunity to vote on this matter in January, which could have stopped this sickening practice; the vote was never cast, and the event is scheduled to go ahead. We must petition the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to end this cruel form of ‘entertainment’ by voting to ban it, ensuring it never happens again.
The practice of gassing snakes is even considered barbaric by other snake roundups in Texas. Over 9,000 people opposed the event during the past year, during which public hearings took place with an overwhelming support for the banning of such a malicious activity. Despite this support, the TPWC decided not to vote – a move seen by some as sheer cowardice, and by others as an act of fear in the face of repercussions from pro-roundup groups.
Gassing snakes is performed using gasoline, which is pumped underground, forcing air-starved, delirious snakes to come to the surface. But the suffering of the snakes is not the only concern; the gasoline used eventually makes its way through the limestone into groundwater, posing a potential health hazard for every person drinking that water. There is also collateral fallout from the gassing. Many studies have found that other snakes, lizards, toads, vertebrates, and karst invertebrates listed as endangered or threatened, are suffering severe impairments and even death.
We must petition the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to hold the vote that should have been cast in January: to end the suffering of these rattlesnakes who are being killed in sickening ways, victims of the human thirst for bloody entertainment.
Dear Mr. Hughes,
The rattlesnake ‘roundup’ event that will soon take place is a testament to the failure of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to take action. If your mission statement is to “manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas”, how can you allow the mass killing of Texas rattlesnakes for the sake of a bloodthirsty ‘family’ event?
The gassing of these rattlesnakes is not only terribly cruel, but actually poses a human health hazard. Several studies have shown that the gasoline pumped into the rattlesnake dens seeps into groundwater, creating potentially disastrous consequences for anyone who receives water from that source. Further studies have shown that the effects of the gasoline are widespread, and that several endangered and ‘protected’ species are being debilitated and even killed as a result of the rattlesnake roundup. As a wildlife commission, you must recognize the severity of both consequences, and the impact they could have on human and wildlife health.
Thousands of people opposed this event during the past year, and, as this story receives national attention, more and more people will pressure you to make the right decision. I call on you to make the choice that your organization has the power to do: please ban this dreadful event.
It so happens that another, very different festival will take place in Round Rock, Texas in the near future. The very first annual Texas Rattlesnake Festival will show these creatures for the beauty that they hold, and not one of them will be harmed or killed. I urge you to encourage this type of festival, and to outlaw any which aim to harm these creatures.
Rattlesnakes do not have to be beheaded, skinned and eaten to provide a fun day for a family – in fact, the very nature of the show abhors the notion of ‘fun’ and ‘family’. Rattlesnakes should be respected. It is time to cast the vote that was stayed in January: ban any events which harm animals, and support any which show animals in their beautiful, living state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Clinton & Charles Robertson via Wikimedia