The Rattlesnake Conservancy is committed to the protection of rattlesnakes and their habitat through research and education. We are also committed to eliminating rattlesnake “kill” events, called rattlesnake roundups. Roundups are public events where snakes are collected without harvest limits and are slaughtered while on public display, all while masquerading as "educational, family friendly events". In preparation for the roundups, thousands of rattlesnakes are kept in unhealthy conditions, with no food or water, often for months. The deaths of these animals are exploited in roundups, where children hand paint on a wall with fresh snake blood and partially restrained rattlesnakes are draped over the necks of adults and children. No funding from these events is contributed to conservation, management, or research of rattlesnakes.
To halt the devastation of our native rattlesnake species, we have established the Rattlesnake Defense Fund, which will be used to fund litigation with the purpose of either stopping rattlesnake roundups or transitioning these roundups to conservation festivals. The Rattlesnake Conservancy will work with conservation partners, such as environmental law firms, government agencies, and other non-profits to challenge those responsible for carrying out rattlesnake roundups.
We believe that the U.S. Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Texas Parks and Wildlife have negligently shirked their duties to protect native wildlife and prevent cruelty to animals. We also believe that the Sweetwater Jaycees, Nolan County Coliseum, and other roundup organizers are responsible for committing heinous animal cruelty acts towards rattlesnakes, have caused significant disruption to wild populations of rattlesnakes, and impacted the environment through use of “gassing”, where gasoline is sprayed in crevices and cracks to extract rattlesnakes for collection.
Our team recognizes the efforts of reformed rattlesnake roundups, such as Claxton Rattlesnake Festival and Whigham Rattlesnake Festival, who have made a commitment to cease killing of rattlesnakes and their public display for such a purpose. These festivals are now committed to educating the public, displaying rattlesnakes that get to go home at the end of the event, and making a commitment to stay true to these ideals for the future. Claxton Rattlesnake Festival has maintained the same level of attendance and revenue, with some years being more prosperous than previous “kill” festivals, while maintaining cultural identity in the area and meeting the needs of the festival. Whigham is recently reformed and has not yet carried out their first conservation festival but have received significant public support.
Your support of the Rattlesnake Defense Fund will help us establish a funding source to begin challenging these government agencies and roundup organizers in court. We can not accomplish this goal without your help. Every $1, $5, or $10, gets us closer to our goal to stop rattlesnake roundups.