Friday, January 25, 2013

Whigham's Rattlesnake Roundup is Happening Today

In less than nine short hours, the town of Whigham, Georgia will have its annual rattlesnake roundup. Unlike Fitzgerald, Georgia and the newly reformed snake and wildlife festival in Claxton, Whigham still sends the rattlesnakes it uses to their deaths. While the snakes are no longer killed during the roundup they are sold off to Campbell’s Farms, owned and operated by Randy Campbell, where they are killed and processed for their meat and hides. Here is the link to the event on the Cairo/Grady County Chamber of Commerce: Although the snakes are supposedly no longer killed there, events listed are “snake handling”, snake cooking and “snake demonstrations” which are apparently separate from the “handling”. Hopefully the snakes will at least be dead when they are cooked. Not everyone is pleased with the roundup, though. At least one writer at the Albany Herald disagrees and feels that the roundup should be consigned to Georgia’s dark past from whence it came. The article is short but elegantly written and to the point. His final words in the article are, “Whigham insists on possibly having its legacy be “the town that helped drive a wild animal to extinction.””. Bill Matturro deserves praise for his willingness to take a stand and tell others living in his state that this is wrong. This is what will end up changing or closing the rattlesnake roundups. People like Bill Matturro, Ray Autry, Orry Martin, Sky Stevens, John Zegal, and Bruce Means telling their fellow citizens when something is not acceptable and calling them out on their behavior when it crosses the lines. Of course, this article would not be complete without the token ignorant comment from an ophidiophobic reader. The comment reads, “Look, Diamondbacks and Canebreaks are poisonous and a threat to both man and beast. Now I will not kill one out in the wild, but I will kill one near homes and buildings. Sorry, but I will let the King Snakes deal with other snakes also. I even have a new fondness for Skunks once I found out they will kill a poisonous snake. The other non-poisonous snakes do a pretty good job on rodents without the asset of poison. Sorry, but I consider my Grandchilds (sic) life worth more than that of a poisonous snake located near my home. I guess the people of Wigham (sic) believe they like them even less than I do.” It was made by someone named Waltspecht. Well, Waltspecht first of all, Crotalus horridus and Crotalus adamanteus are not “poisonous”, they are venomous. Some might say that is splitting hairs but if they were poisonous the snake cooking that would be taking place at the roundup would end disastrously. Second, these snakes were IN THE WILD, humans brought them near their homes and buildings. They were rounded up, that is the point of a rattlesnake roundup, to take snakes minding their own business and torment them before killing them. Some unrelated things like fundraising and carnival rides with cotton candy also occur but these are incidental and could exist without the rattlesnakes. Finally, while you may think that you are protecting your grandchild, you are merely being a reactionary, advocating the destruction of a natural being, one that may soon be endangered, because you fear it. Soon there may not be many (or any) wild and potentially dangerous animals and the world will be poorer for it. Your grandchild will read about Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes, as well as sharks, lions, rhinos, and vultures in books and ask why they are no longer around. If you are still alive then what will you say? That “We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap”?* How do you think your grandchild and his or her grandchildren will react to you? Will they pity you for your ignorance? Or will they curse your very memory for leaving them a dead shell of a planet? *Vonnegut


  1. You really need to check into things more before starting an article on crap!