Tell the Times they’re wrong on rattlesnakes

Once again, the New York Times has published a story portraying rattlesnake roundups (Sweetwater specifically) as folksy, family-friendly fun. The controversy surrounding these events is brushed off as mere predictable “attention from animal rights groups,” and we expect better from a well-respected outlet like the Times.

 

Send a Letter to the Editor
Letters should be emailed to: magazine@nytimes.com, and you must include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Limit your letter to 150-175 words (if it’s too long they won’t even read it) and submit it by April 10. Include your letter in the body of the email – they do not accept attachments.

Here is what we sent, feel free to use any of this text or write your own.

To the Editor:
The portrayal of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup in “Something About a Snake Brings Everybody Out” (magazine, April 3), was both biased and inaccurate. Rattlesnake roundups have actually garnered little attention from animal rights groups; most criticism has stemmed from scientists who understand that these unregulated events are damaging to rattlesnake populations and their habitat.

Most rattlesnakes are collected by dumping gasoline in their dens, a method that has been banned in most states because it pollutes the ground and water.

There are no limits on the number of rattlesnakes removed from the wild for roundups, and unlike traditional game animals, rattlesnakes are not monitored to determine the effect of this unregulated slaughter.

Unregulated hunting led to the extinction of once common animals like the passenger pigeon, and has no place in our world today.

Melissa Amarello, MS Biology
Co-Founder, Advocates for Snake Preservation

 
Alternative talking points to include in your letter:

Young children are encouraged to participate in the slaughter by skinning their own rattlesnake – often while the snake, though headless, is writhing and trying to escape.

These events instill disrespect for wildlife and nature in children at a time when Nature Deficit Disorder is affecting our health and the health of our planet.