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Doris Lin

Florida Announces Python Killing Contest

By December 13, 2012

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Burmese Python

The state of Florida is holding a Burmese python killing contest, because people have been abandoning the snakes in the wild after they realize that it's difficult to keep a 12-foot carnivorous snake as a pet.

The goal of the Python Challenge is to "raise public awareness about Burmese pythons and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife." I can think of better ways to raise awareness.

There are animal rights reasons for not keeping pets at all. But the arguments against exotic pets, especially large, predatory animals, go beyond animal rights. Proper treatment and confinement of the animals is an issue, along with concerns about keeping a wild animal in a cage, and danger to the community.

Although the stated goal is raising public awareness, the main effect of the contest is demonizing the snakes and reveling in their deaths. Like in trophy hunting, the killings are trivialized and the animals' lifeless bodies are treated as prizes.

If the snakes are truly threatening the ecosystem and other wildlife, no one would object to their removal and release in a more suitable habitat. It's the least we owe them, because people brought them to the U.S., bred them, sold them and bought them. It's not the snakes' fault.

If you want a snake or any kind of pet, and are sure that you can provide a lifetime of proper care, check with shelters, rescue groups and Petfinder.com. Just about any kind of animal, including exotic animals, are available for adoption.

Image courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Comments

December 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm
(1) Earl Hicks says:

People you guys and your laws are truly dumb. I may sound ignorant to you but you know what I do not care. But, if that snake killed your child or family member how would you feel? Giving an animal the same right as humas is ridiculous and is taken overboard. Sure I can see if it was an animal that was malnurished and on the brink of death but do you thank a big ass snake like that is going to fall in that category? Instead you people so concerned about snakes being flaunted like a trophy, you should spend your time trying to helping people that are homeless and living on the streets it sickens me how you animal rights people focus more on animal lives rather than humans.

January 15, 2013 at 10:19 am
(2) Chris Breeden says:

I have denvoted myself to the care of exotic animals my entire adult life. I do not advocate keeping them as pets. I do however understand and agree with the efforts of zoos to preserve these animals because of natural habitat destruction.
The situation in the Everglades is an issue very close to my heart. The balance of that ecosystem is precarious. The pythons are disrupting that balance. They are not endangered. The snakes taken during this “contest” will not be wasted but harvested for meat and skins.
It’s my hope that through education people will form opinions only after they have ALL the facts pertaining to this situation.

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