Hyderabad: Don't feed milk to snakes, plead activists

Don’t feed milk to snakes, plead activists
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Don’t feed milk to snakes, plead activists

Highlights

Every year during Nag Panchami, cobras are tortured and defanged unethically. Snakes are forcefully fed with milk and other fluids which act as potential toxins to their body resulting in severe indigestion and eventual death

Hyderabad: Bharatiya Parani Mitra Sangh (BPMS) jointly with Wildlife Protection Society (WPS) and other animal welfare organisations will be on vigil to rescue snakes from Snake charmers.

Every year during Nag Panchami, cobras are tortured and defanged unethically. Snakes are forcefully fed with milk and other fluids which act as potential toxins to their body resulting in severe indigestion and eventual death. Catching snakes or causing injury to them is offence which can lead to imprisionment under the wildlife protection act 1972.

About 60 days before Nagpanchmi snakes (mainly Indian cobras and rat snakes) are caught in paddy and other fields where rats and other rodents are found. These snakes are forced into circular baskets made of slit bamboo and are kept in dark. They are made to remain in a coiled position in those baskets without food, water and sunlight. Though they manage to survive by dissolving their body fat, they suffer from cramps, dehydration and weakness.

Around 3 to 4 days before the festival, the snakes are removed from their baskets, by which time they are too weak to ever stir, their fangs are pulled out in a non-surgical manner [usually pulled out by cutting pliers], their venom sacks are slit open and in some cases their mouths are stitched, due to which they are prone to oral complications like jaw lock, gangerine, T.T and septisemia. Venom is a digestive enzyme with complex protein structure. It helps the snake to immobilize, kill and later digest the prey.

Without its fangs and venom the snake cannot survive. Snake 'charmers' then take the snake around the city to collect money from the public. Any snake which is hungry or thirsty for 60 days will drink anything be it water, cough syrup, whiskey, milk. Snake being a reptile does not require milk. In fact, its digestive system is not designed to digest milk fat and protein. In most cases when a snake is fed on milk, its digestive tract is irritated which results in death.

At the end of the day, the charmers buy some semi-precious stones and plant them on the snake's hood, to benefit from the myth that cobra's protect diamonds. They sell those 'diamonds' for a few thousand rupees. However, they do not stop at that, they skin the snake alive and sell the skin [leather].

BPMS General Secretary Masheh Agarwal in a release on Tuesday appealed devotees not to feed milk to snakes. "Keeping in view the current corona crisis we are not deputing our volunteers on the roads. If anyone finds any snake charmer displaying the snake please call helpline no. 9394005600," he added.

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