Rattlesnake Roundup Call To Action
Governor Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, New Mexico State Game and Wildlife Biologists, and any other parties directly or indirectly related to regulations on reptiles and amphibians in New Mexico.
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We the undersigned, do hereby petition Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to implement a complete ban on any and all rattlesnake roundups in the state of New Mexico. We feel that rattlesnake roundups are extremely cruel to snakes, and are greatly damaging to our native environment here in this state. We further state that the type of irresponsible actions rattlesnake roundups promote are detrimental to the residents of New Mexico, especially our youth, as roundups flagrantly display public cruelty to rattlesnakes, including torture, dismemberment and death.
It is a fact that the meat from rattlesnakes served to the public at the roundup in Otero County is not inspected by any health agency, and is offered to the public with great risk. The "chopping block" and surrounding area where rattlesnakes are killed to later cook is extremely unsanitary, and people who consume this meat are at risk for contracting salmonella and other diseases.
It is also a fact that many rattlesnakes eat rodents as a regular part of their diet. Rodents carry diseases such as the Plague, Hantavirus and other diseases. Rodents also cause a great amount of damage to food crops in the state of New Mexico. Killing 700 to 1000 rattlesnakes or more every year is having a negative impact on wild rattlesnake populations in this state. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that collectors are avidly seeking rattlesnakes from other areas of the state to collect for the roundup due to dwindling populations in Otero County.
It is also a fact that those who collect rattlesnakes for the roundup commonly use gasoline and other toxins to drive snakes out of their dens or burrows. These actions pollute the soil, and are in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Also, these snakes are often kept for months in containers with no food or water, an extremely cruel act toward these snakes. It is a fact that snakes do feel pain and suffer just as much as any other animal, regardless of what some people may think of snakes. Often rattlesnakes that are captured are gravid (pregnant) so the result is all the unborn baby rattlesnakes die at roundups as well.
Without rattlesnakes and their venom for medical research we may never find cures for some diseases. Already one drug on the market used to control high blood pressure was developed through the use of rattlesnake venom. Who can tell what other cures may be found with rattlesnake venom. We already have 2 species of rattlesnakes in New Mexico listed as protected. If roundups are allowed to continue we will most certainly lose other species as well.
All in all, we feel that New Mexico can set the standard to see rattlesnake roundups in other states banned as well. If New Mexico bans roundups, surely other states will follow suit and ban theirs as well.
Although we need as many signatures from New Mexico residents as we can obtain, anyone from any state can sign this petition, and we strongly encourage you to do so! We would like to see a minimum of 10,000 signatures before the 2006 Spring Legislative session. Please circulate this petition to as many people/groups as you can!
It is time for New Mexico to stand up against the cruelty of rattlesnake roundups, and preserve our wildlife, our natural heritage, and our wildlife diversity.
Thank you for your time and concern.