Letter to Texas Zoo regarding Viper Day
Dear Texas Zoo,
I learned on your website that the Texas Zoo “connects people with wildlife from Texas and the rest of the world; inspires caring for nature; and advances conservation through education, recreation, science and action”. This is exactly why I am struggling to understand how the Texas Zoo would choose to partner with the hosts of Rattlesnake Republic for your Viper Day event this Saturday, June 23, 2012. As I hope you are aware, Rattlesnake Republic is a television show that glamorizes the slaughter of rattlesnakes. They gas burrows to extract rattlesnakes and openly promote the idea that rattlesnakes are dangerous to humans. The show has also encouraged people to kill rattlesnakes whenever they see them—this act alone increases the chance of a serious snake bite. In addition, Rattlesnake Republic participates in rattlesnake round-ups which intentionally ignore animal cruelty laws. Rattlesnake Republic is far from “inspiring care for nature” nor does it “advance conservation through education”. Instead, this show perpetuates and instills fear of snakes in humans.
Zoos are excellent resources for the general public to learn about snakes and other wildlife. I am struggling to understand how a partnership with Rattlesnake Republic helps your zoo promote its mission. Snake conservation in Texas has taken a HUGE step backwards because of Rattlesnake Republic. Choosing to partner with a program like this is counter to such a well stated and dignified mission as advancing conservation through education, recreation, science, and action. People will leave your zoo with a new message in mind such as fearing snakes even more and be inspired to kill or handle a rattlesnake like the Rattlesnake Republic does on your stage. Please reconsider your mission and goals as stated on your website: Conservation through Education—not Fear and Persecution.
Cameron A. Young
Center for Snake Conservation