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Snakes, often misunderstood and feared, unfortunately, endure a lot of exploitation and mistreatment at the hands of humans. Due to the way people often think about snakes, they are unfairly treated. Whether it is for personal gain, cultural practices, or sheer ignorance, these fascinating reptiles suffer at alarming rates.
In this eye-opening article, we delve into ten specific real-life instances where snakes are exploited and mistreated, shedding light on the dark side of human-animal interactions.
1. Illegal Wildlife Trade
Snakes are frequently captured and trafficked illegally for their skins, which are used in the fashion industry, or for some people to keep as pets. This practice often involves inhumane handling and transportation of the animals. Typically it severely lacks any regulation as they are smuggled over the borders of various countries.
2. Snake Charming
In some cultures, snakes are used for entertainment purposes in snake charming acts. In countries like Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia snake charming can be seen on the streets. These performances involve manipulating and subjecting snakes to unnatural conditions, which can cause stress, injury, and even death. Some snake charmers even capture wild cobras, rip out their fangs, and sew their mouths shut so they can’t be bitten. Then, the cobras eventually die of starvation and the cycle repeats.
Source: Nat Geo WILD/YouTube
3. Snake Wine Production
Certain traditional medicines and alcoholic beverages, such as snake wine, are made by infusing whole snakes or snake parts into alcohol. This practice leads to the unnecessary killing of the snakes involved. Typically, this practice is found in China and Southeast Asia.
Source: Mark Harrison/YouTube
4. Pet Trade Exploitation
Snakes are often captured from the wild and sold as exotic pets without proper consideration for their needs. Poor living conditions, improper diet, and inadequate care are common, leading to health issues and premature deaths. Each year nearly 1 million endangered and threatened snakes are legally sold internationally.
5. Skinning for the Leather Industry
The leather industry also exploits snakes, using their skins for the production of accessories, such as belts, shoes, and handbags. Snakes are subjected to brutal killing methods and are sometimes skinned alive.
6. Snake Farming
In some regions, snakes are bred in captivity for their skins, meat, or medicinal purposes. Sometimes they are bred to be sold as pets, depending on the species. These snake farms prioritize profit over animal welfare, leading to overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. The video below shows the inhumane conditions of Vietnam’s largest Cobra farm.
Source: Cobra carving/YouTube
7. Traditional Medicine Practices
Snakes, their venoms, and their body parts are used in various traditional medicine practices around the world. These practices contribute to the demand for snakes, leading to their capture and potential decline in wild populations. Many believe that by using the venom you can increase energy, virility, and immunity.
8. Snake-Based Entertainment
Snakes are sometimes exploited in roadside shows or tourist attractions, where they are handled or posed with by tourists for photo opportunities. These unnatural interactions can cause significant stress and harm to the snakes. Additionally, they are still seen in music videos and used on stage for performances, like Britney Spears’ 2001 VMAs performance.
9. Habitat Destruction
Human activities, such as deforestation and urbanization, significantly impact snake habitats. Destruction of their natural environments prevents them from finding food sources, breeding grounds, and suitable shelter.
10. Superstitions and Fear-Driven Killings
Misconceptions and superstitions surrounding snakes often lead to their persecution and targeted killing. Many harmless snake species fall victim to fear-driven actions, resulting in unbalanced ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. Some religions regard snakes as evil.
The exploitation and mistreatment of snakes by humans paint a grim picture of the consequences of our actions. It is imperative to foster a greater understanding and respect for these creatures. Promoting ethical practices, implementing stronger legislation against illegal wildlife trade, and encouraging responsible pet ownership are vital steps to protect snakes from further harm and safeguard their place in our ecosystems.
Sign this petition to make Texas cancel the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup where thousands of snakes are killed every year.
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