It is that time of the year: rattlesnake slaughter events

While some progress has been made in reducing the over all number of rattlesnake round-ups.  The largest of these events – the Sweetwater Oklahoma Rattlesnake Roundup- was held this weekend.  One blog post writer,

“This weekend is the largest rattlesnake round-up in Texas. The way the snakes are treated before they are slaughtered for public entertainment is sickening. I’d been posting on the Jaycees website all day, leaving polite messages about alternatives, such as the way Georgia turned their round ups into wildlife festivals (though it took the near decimation of the Eastern Diamondback population in Georgia for this to happen). 

“I’ve now been blocked from posting or commenting on the page.”

The writer urges people to express their outrage at…p/253049219648

Another writer, left the following message for Outboors720 editor.

“Dear Outdoors720 Editor, I stumbled upon your article by David Strege on the rattlesnake round-up in Texas.  This event is deplorable and your coverage of it seems laughable given that you seem to promote outdoor “enjoyment”.  Please visit the website of HerpNationMedia so that you and your writers can get educated on why this event is so destructive (although as a herpetologist and a nature-lover this seems self-evident).  Would you cover a story on a feral cat round-up and extermination event?  What about feral dogs?  That sounds like great fun in the great outdoors, no? One could argue at least that dogs and cats are not native to North America and important to maintaining the integrity of the natural ecosystem.   

“The signs of a good writer, educator, promoter, etc., of the outdoors or nature would ask tough questions.  Like, how many people die or become injured from snake bites every year? How can farmers protect themselves and build corridors of native habitat to keep rattlesnakes in locations remote from where they work every day? It is disappointing that you do not use your site to encourage the preservation of the very outdoors that you claim to embrace; creatures with feathers, fangs, or venom are what make up our great outdoors.  

“Therefore many of us protest the destruction of our native herpetofauna.”

Arguing against rattlesnake roundups on humane grounds is likely lost on many of the active participants in these events. Instead they should be bombarded with the consequences of removing predators from ecosystems. When one predator disappears, others follow. Reduce the predators of rodents and diseases increase, diseases that impact livestock as well as humans. Getting legislation passed to prevent the events is the ultimate solution, but it will need to be done state by state.

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