Posts Tagged ‘Michael Brick’

Rattlesnake GRoundup

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Here is an unfortunate celebration in the NY Times of a sad practice:  The Rattlesnake Roundup.  Note that the story, “A Knack for Hooking the Longest Rattlers,” appears in the sports section.  Imagine if this were baby seal clubbing, or raptor shooting, or even a wolf hunt–you can bet the Times would have run the story with analysis of the impact of the ritual on native populations, of the potential cruelty involved, of the unnecessary commodification of wildlife.  But here, because it is snakes, the hunters are the voice of whether this is a fair practice and the Jaycees are the reporter’s source for what the snake population can sustain.

“The population I don’t think is in any danger,” Sawyers [of the Jaycees] said. “Some people do use gas fumes to draw them out of the hole. In Texas law, there’s nothing on the books right now that says you can’t, so it’s up to each individual hunter.”

Gassing for snakes is a reviled practice.  Florida has outlawed gassing not only because it kills everything else around and damages soil and water, but also because it causes nervous disorders in the snakes.  Shame on the Times for running this story as a sporting event, shame on Sweetwater, Texas for celebrating the killing of wildlife without any apparent research as to the rattlesnakes’ threat to humans, cattle, or research on the snakes’ sustainability. And, of course, taking the kids out to a rattlesnake killing is just what we need to engender respect for wildlife.  Texas has some of the world’s most knowledgeable snake lovers.  It is a shame it also has so many haters.