PETA ‘Snakes’ To Call For Animal-Friendly Nag Panchami

For Immediate Release:
1 August 2016

Neerja Khede; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Festival Means Cruelty, Pain, Illness, and Death for Animals

Jaipur – As Nag Panchami approaches, two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India members – dressed and painted like snakes – will bear signs reading, “Be Kind to Snakes. Have a Cruelty-Free Nag Panchami”, in Jaipur to remind passers-by that the animals experience pain and illness when they’re deprived of their natural food and force-fed cows’ milk during festival celebrations.

When:             Tuesday, 2 August, 12 noon sharp

Where:           Statue Circle, facing Prithviraj Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan

“The best way to honour snakes for Nag Panchami is to let them live freely in their natural habitats”, says PETA India’s Neerja Khede. “PETA is calling on citizens to spare snakes the terror and misery of capture, confinement, and potential death by holding snake-free celebrations.”

Cobras and other snakes are protected under the The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and catching or injuring them is a punishable offence. Yet ahead of Nag Panchami, snakes are often captured in bags, kept in tiny boxes, and starved. Their teeth are often violently yanked out, and in many cases, their mouths are sewn shut before they are taken into cities. When forced to drink cows’ milk, snakes often become ill or even die. In addition, their venom ducts are often pierced with a hot needle, which causes their glands to burst. Some snakes become visually impaired when tikka – a red decorative pigment that is applied to their hoods during pooja (an act of worship) – trickles into their eyes. And the “dance” that snakes perform is actually a fearful reaction to the charmer’s pipe, which the animals view as a threat. Many snakes used in this festival die horribly every year.

PETA India, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”, encourages anyone who sees snake charmers to contact Sahil Singhal on +91 9829060727 or the Rajasthan Forest Department immediately.

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