Today being Nag Panchami, the focus will be on snakes. Snake charmers will abound and people will perform all kinds of rituals for and using snakes.
However, please remember that snakes are also mute animals and therefore, don’t torture them to fulfil any bizarre ritual.
Though their image is a deadly one, but what if we are deadlier, throwing stones at them out of fear or making them forced participants in a ritual. Even removing their venom and carrying them around in a cloth sack is not particularly appealing to a snake, I’m sure. They must feel suffocated and starved. Of what use is puja if we are torturing animals in the process? In fact, under the Wildlife Protection Act, it is a crime to hunt, capture, own, use, harm and kill snakes. of 1972.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has issued a statement, urging the snake charmers’ community to use fake snakes in place of real ones during this year’s Nag Panchami. The organisation has also sent samples of fake snakes that looked as good as the real. PETA said that though Nag Panchami was a festival meant to honour snakes, these scary but fascinating animals were being abused and tortured. PETA has also highlighted that snakes’ teeth are violently pulled out and sometimes, their mouths are also sewn! Imagine the cruelty towards a mute animal.
Says PETA India campaign coordinator Chani Singh, “Snake charming makes a mockery of Naagpanchami by turning it into a festival of animal torture. In addition to other abuses, charmers force the snakes to drink milk, which causes them to become dehydrated and often leads to dysentery and even death. Also, the snakes’ venom ducts are often pierced with a hot needle, which causes the glands to burst. Some snakes go blind when the ‘tikka’, which is applied to their hoods during pooja, trickles into their eyes. And the dance that snakes perform is actually a fearful reaction to the snake charmers’ pipes, which snakes view as threats.”