Around this time every year, Texans prepare to slaughter hundreds of rattle snakes in their annual festival that attracts a huge crowd.
Thousands of people gathered in a small Texas town this weekend to watch rattlesnakes get cleaned, skinned, milked and more – some visitors even left their mark on the wall with bloody hand prints.
The Annual Sweetwater Jaycee’s World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup hosts hunts, beauty and eating contests, demonstrations, vendors selling snake-skin products and more. Attendees could even buy fried rattlesnake, which apparently takes like chicken.
The many attraction involve one such activity where snakes are cooked, however, they are passed through an assembly line, where they are killed, decapitated, then cleaned and skinned as they hang from a wire.
The roundup, which has been going on since 1958 and is the oldest and grandest in Texas, began to control the population of rattlesnakes in the area, according to the Odessa American, but now more people are drawn to the sheer awe of the event.
Keith Willman adjusts snakes in a pit to keep them from suffocating during the 2015 World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup on Saturday in Sweetwater, Texas. Willman said if they don’t get stirred up, the snakes on the bottom of the pile could suffocate from the weight of the snakes on top of them
Sweetwater Jaycees clean and skin the rattlesnakes before they are cooked. Onlookers help clean and skin the reptiles if they wanted
A crowd watches handlers clean and skin rattlesnakes during the 2015 Sweetwater Jaycees World Largest Rattlesnake Roundup at the Nolan County Coliseum
The rattlesnakes are suspended in the air as handlers clean and skin the reptiles. Crowds gather as the handlers approach the snakes barehanded
The four-day event takes place in Sweetwater’s Nolan County Coliseum, which is also used for the county fair, rodeos and other large events in the area.
Hand print of people brave enough to skin the dead rattlesnakes
The event brings more than $2million into Sweetwater – a town with a population of 11,400 – and proceeds go toward community projects, youth sports and helping the disabled and disadvantaged.
The preparation for the event starts from a month before where people are told to for snakes, and hunters are able to harvest about 5,000 pounds of snakes – which averages out into about 1,000 snakes.
Hunters use a gassing technique, where they spray gasoline through copper tubes to lure the snakes from their hiding places.
Although the event is meant to control rattle snake population and help raise money for charity some argue that the event is very unethical.
What do you think?