PETA Demands Python Hunters Stop Decapitating Snakes

Experts around the country have raised all kinds of concerns about Florida's mass orgy of python killing set for this weekend. Would-be snake hunters only have to read a couple of PDFs to qualify, leaving them in grave danger of death by dehydration, snake bite, swamp rot and god knows what other Everglades maladies.

Leave it to PETA, though, to be the first to weigh in on behalf of the invasive Burmese pythons. The group has sent a letter to the state demanding that it forbid the hunters from decapitating the snakes, calling it "inhumane."

See also:
- Hundreds of Maniacs Sign Up To Hunt Pythons in the Everglades This Weekend

The group made its demands in a letter sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency behind the 2013 Florida Python Challenge, an event mean to put a dent in the ever-growing population of giant snakes in the Glades.

More than 400 hunters have already signed up for the contest, which awards $1,000 to whomever kills the biggest python and $1,500 to the most dead snakes.

In the online education materials hunters have to read, the state stresses the "ethical obligation" to kill the snakes as humanely as possible, and lists three approved methods: A captive bolt to the brain, a gunshot to the head or decapitation.

PETA says that former option is not so humane after all.

"Hunters who use decapitation to kill snakes, as is currently authorized by the commission, will fail in their ethical obligation," the group writes.

Before you laugh off the animal activists -- a reaction that, frankly, is all too rational given their usually extreme take on the subject -- consider that even FFWCC admits that pythons can live for up to another hour after getting their heads chopped off.

The agency calls decapitation an "acceptable" but "not ... recommended" method, and calls for hunters to quickly destroy the snake's brain after decapitating it to minimize its pain.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink