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Snake Charming

Entry 91, on 2004-11-25 at 15:00:31 (Rating 1, News)

I read in BBC news today that snake charmers in India are being forced by authorities there to give up their occupation because it allegedly harms the snakes. Apparently the snake charmers have been protesting on the streets - with their snakes wrapped around their necks and shoulders - and threatening to release them in the state assembly. Its quite an amusing picture, but it highlights an interesting issue.

I believe in the protection and conservation of species, even those with a poor public image like snakes, but I object to all the interest and colour being drained from the world by overbearing officialdom. The claim is that the snakes are harmed by their handlers, although what form this harm takes wasn't mentioned in the news report. I have heard that the snakes are usually de-fanged though - which is presumably a form of harm.

I think on balance I would allow the snake charmers to continue to practice their art, as long as the number of snakes in the wild didn't reach near extinction levels. I find it objectionable that western based values - such as over-protection of animals - are forced on a nation like India with such a rich cultural tradition, by over-zealous wildlife activists.

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