More than 400 people have decided to step up and take on Florida's 2013 Python Challenge, where they'll be competing for $1,000 to snuff out evasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades this weekend.
No hunting license, or snake-killing experience is required. Only your dedication to hitting the swamp and beheading a few snakes. Also, your ability to tell a python from, say, a venomous snake. Also, you need to take a 15-minute tutorial.
Of course, not everyone is super fired up about the Burmese Python Hoedown going down in the Everglades this weekend. And by "everyone," we, of course, mean PETA.
Specifically, they're demanding, via a letter, that the state steps in and not allow the hunters to decapitate the snakes.
In the letter, PETA demands that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission "remove decapitation from the list of acceptable methods of killing pythons in the upcoming Python Challenge."
PETA cites a renowned reptilian biology, behavior, and ecology expert, Dr. Clifford Warwick, saying it's impossible for decapitation to be done in a humane manner.
In the material one is required to read before signing up for the challenge, the commission asks the hunter to kill the snakes as humanely as possible. The three approved methods of killing the snakes are a captive bolt to the brain, a gunshot to the head or decapitation.
But PETA stresses that "Hunters who use decapitation to kill snakes, as is currently authorized by the commission, will fail in their ethical obligation."
Given the fact that pretty much anyone can be a part of the competition, there's bound to be more than a few messy kills this weekend. So PETA has a right to be concerned.
Also, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has itself admitted that pythons can live up to an hour after being decapitated. Which means hunters would need to destroy the brain immediately after lopping off a snake's head.
But how many people will be aware of this as they traverse the Everglades with thoughts of a thousand bucks dancing in their heads?
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission620 S. Meridian St.Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
Via First-Class USPS and e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Python Challenge 2013Dear Commissioners:
This letter is written on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA) to request that the commission remove decapitation from the list of acceptable methods of killing pythons in the upcoming Python Challenge2013 ("the Challenge"). It has been brought to PETA's attention by Dr.Clifford Warwick, one of the world's foremost experts in reptilian biology,behavior, and ecology, that decapitation followed by destruction of the brain,although a method deemed conditionally acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association, cannot be performed in a humane manner in the field.
In light of this information, it is incumbent on the commission to revise its instructions to hunters prior to the start of the contest on January 12to exclude decapitation as an authorized method of killing.
PETA applauds the commission for its repeated reminder to hunters in the materials associated with the Challenge that they have an "ethical obligation to ensure a Burmese python is killed in a humane manner that results in immediate loss of consciousness and destruction of the brain."
1 As you are aware, hunters also have a legal obligation to kill snakes in a manner that doesnot violate the state's cruelty-to-animals statute.
2 According to Dr. Warwick and other experts, hunters who use decapitation to kill snakes, as is currently authorized by the commission, will fail in their ethical obligation and, in PETA's opinion, their legal obligation.
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