The rattlesnake roundup that takes place every year in Sweetwater, Texas since 1958 is an event celebrating animal cruelty. It begins with exactly what it sounds like, the roundup of rattlesnakes. One of the techniques for gathering the snakes is called “gassing,” and it includes flushing them out of their dens with gasoline. After being captured, they are weighed, measured, and milked for venom before being tossed into pits.

As if being taken from the wild isn’t bad enough, the suffering they endure at these “festivities” is disgraceful. One of the most popular and absolutely horrifying events is called the Miss Snake Charmer pageant where young beauty queens decapitate the helpless snakes.

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Sights at the events are shocking and nauseating, such as “a plastic garbage can of headless snakes, some of which still coiled defensively. In a nearby bloody bucket, the severed heads tongued the air.”

Warning: the video below contains graphic and disturbing content. Please use discretion.

Along with celebrating cruelty and teaching children that hurting animals is “fun,” this event also fuels the wildlife trade. The snakes are skinned and eaten, but many are sold as well. According to Express News, “Almost every part has a buyer. While venom prices are depressed, rattlesnake gall bladders go for $5 each for the Asian market. Fresh skins go for $5 a foot. Heads too are sold.”

Many of these people are completely apathetic to the pain and suffering they are causing and choose to believe the myth that snakes do not feel pain. One of the beauty queens involved in 2019, stated in a proud yet completely misinformed way: “They don’t feel pain like humans because they are cold-blooded. Once I learned that, I didn’t have any sympathy.” What a terrible thing to teach younger generations — to have no sympathy for living beings.

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The 2020 Rattlesnake Roundup is coming up on the weekend of March 13-15th and will include traditional events like the pageant, hunts, cook offs, and more devastating “festivities.”

Sign this petition demanding the end of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup!

Sign these other petitions to save other animals from similar cruelty:

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