Use Fake Snakes on Naag Panchami
PETA India has fired off a letter to Mr Sandeep Mukherjee, spokesperson of the Bedia Federation of India, Organization of World Bedia & Snake Charmers, urging him to encourage the use of fake snakes in place of real ones during this year’s Naag Panchami.
Naag Panchami is held to honour the serpent god, Naag Devta. Instead of receiving tribute, the fascinating reptiles used during this festival are often abused and tortured. It is a crime for snake charmers to hunt, capture, own, use, harm or kill snakes under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Yet snakes are still cruelly captured in suffocating bags, kept in tiny boxes and starved. Their teeth are violently torn out, and many snakes’ mouths are sewn shut in a highly painful manner.
In addition to other abuses, charmers force snakes to drink milk, which causes them to become dehydrated and often leads to dysentery and even death. Also, the snakes’ venom ducts are often pierced with a hot needle, which causes the glands to burst. Some snakes go blind when the “tikka”, which is applied to their hoods during pooja, trickles into their eyes. Thousands of snakes used in the festival die horribly every year. Most snakes shun human contact and would rather flee than fight. The “dance” that snakes perform is actually a fearful reaction to the charmers’ pipes, which snakes view as threats. Many Hindus have switched to using plastic and wooden snakes after India banned sewing snakes’ mouths shut and pouring milk down their throats.
You can help by pledging to boycott snake shows here.