Success: Turtle-Abusing Event Canceled

snapping turtle

Target: Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

Goal: Praise the cancellation of ‘Snapperfest’ event that torments turtles.

An event known as Snapperfest, where contestants torment snapping turtles for entertainment, has been canceled. The cancellation of this event came in the wake of protest from animal rights activists, including our friends here at ForceChange. Contestants would pull the heads out of live turtles at these events to demonstrate their strength, according to a report from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

In online videos, contestants can be seen wrenching the heads from live turtles and holding them up by their necks. The terrified turtles are regularly thrown and dropped in these videos, and treating them in such a rough way can potentially cause injuries. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced that live turtles will no longer be used in these events.

This event was in violation of an Indiana animal cruelty law that forbids the intentional neglect of a vertebrate animal. The event caused unnecessary stress and injury to these innocent animals, and we should all praise the fact that it has been cancelled. It sets a poor example to young children who witness the turtles being thrown around like rag dolls. Snapping turtles should remain in the wild, and they should never be harassed for the entertainment of humans. We need to call out people who mistreat animals, and this case has shown that individuals can make a difference.

Thanks to public outrage, Snapperfest is now a thing of the past. Sign this petition to praise the cancellation of Snapperfest.


Dear Mr. Wells,

I would like to praise your organization for successfully working to end the cruel event known as Snapperfest in which turtles were harassed and injured by having their heads wrenched out of their shells. This event was labeled as a family-friendly event, but the reality was that turtles were being blatantly mistreated.

In some videos of the event, they are seen being thrown to the ground and having their necks clenched in the fists of the people who wrestle them. This event set a poor example to young children who witnessed it, because it sent a clear message that it’s okay to harass wildlife. It is my hope that such events will be replaced with humane displays of wildlife which raise awareness to their way of life and to their ecology and conservation.

This case is yet another example of how people can place pressure on those who commit such cruelties and ultimately stop them. I congratulate you on this accomplishment, and I wish you luck in your continued efforts to protect animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Seney Natural History Association via Flickr

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  1. That was such a great decision! Forever ban torturing of animals and punish the perpetrators please!

  2. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    Thank you, Stephen. My donation to ALDF will be in the mail shortly.

  3. Theresa Strom says:

    It is hard to believe that people can view cruelty as entertainment. What kind of mind would enjoy watching animals in pain – bull fighing, cock fighting, dog fighting. . . who are you??!

  4. Animals should NEVER be abused, whether it be mildly or severely! The punishment and penalties for such a crime should be tough and severe.

  5. caryl sawyer says:

    Animal abusers had parents who were animal abusers.

  6. What good people MUST do is to STOP the vile & bad people from engaging in their horrific acts — thus, there would be less evil in the world ….

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