Snake charmers urged to switch to fakes

2012-07-20 17:37
A Hindu devotee offers milk to a snake as part of a ritual on Naag Panchami festival in Jammu, India. (Channi Anand, AP)

A Hindu devotee offers milk to a snake as part of a ritual on Naag Panchami festival in Jammu, India. (Channi Anand, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

VIDEO: Snake charmers

2012-07-20 14:38

This YouTube video demonstrates snake charming in India.WATCH

New Delhi - Animal rights group Peta on Friday called on India's snake charmers to use fake reptiles during an upcoming serpent festival and spare the animals their annual torture.

The Indian unit of US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said snakes were abused during the annual Naag Panchami festival, which is celebrated in honour of a Hindu serpent god and is scheduled for 30 - 31 August.

Peta claimed snakes were cruelly captured in suffocating bags, kept in tiny boxes, starved or forced to drink milk. Their teeth are often violently torn out, and many snakes' mouths are sewn shut, it added.

"There is no place in a civilised society for yanking snakes' teeth out and sewing their mouths shut," Peta India campaign co-ordinator Chani Singh said in a press statement.

"Peta India is calling on snake charmers to rein in this egregious abuse by using fake snakes for God's sake," Singh added, saying that realistic plastic or rubber snakes could be used instead.

Condemned

Peta's statement was swiftly condemned by the Bedia Federation of India, a non-profit agency which represents the nomadic snake charmer community.

"How can Peta accuse us of torturing and abusing snakes? We worship snakes, we would never want them to suffer and die," said Raktim Das, the general secretary of the federation.

Das said the call by Peta was nothing short of a publicity stunt aimed at making life more difficult for their 800 000-strong community which had been "living a life of penury" in the wake of strict wildlife laws.

"Our livelihood has been snatched from us. There is no alternative employment opportunity for us. Where do we go and what do we do to earn a living?" Das said.

The snake charmers have long been a favourite with tourists in India but the practice was proscribed under wildlife legislation implemented in 2002.

The Naag Panchami festival goes ahead regardless, with devotees worshipping snake pictures, idols or in some cases live serpents.

A small number of charmers can still be spotted around major tourist sites in places like New Delhi, risking arrest as they cajole foreign visitors into taking a snapshot for a small fee.
Read more on:    peta  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.