I think – whether you are vegan, or not – it’s important for all of us to assess (& re-assess) our relationship with animals. I’m not talking about asking yourself whether you are more of a cat or dog “person,” but how animals fit into your life from a holistic standpoint. Which ones do you eat? Which products, directly from their bodies, do you consume? Why? Where does it come from? What happened behind-the-scenes for you to get that product? I make it a point to remind myself that becoming mindful is really a practice that should be applied to all aspects of my life (not just how I eat, but why I eat what I do); it is the true antithesis to ignorance.
Anyhow, Earthlings is a great documentary if you would like to educate yourself on animal consumption. I try to practice a “no judgment” rule when it comes to ethics; partially because I don’t think judging others is productive, partially because I think ethics are incredibly complicated; and partially because I’d like to preserve my sanity. I’m not perfect at this, but, I’m working on it. Anyhow, this is all to say – I’m going to break that rule right now.
If you participate in Snapperfest, you deserve to be inflicted the same amount of fear, torture, anguish – and often death – that the Snapper turtles directly receive as a result of your participation.
I found out about Snapperfest via the Earthlings fan page. Snapperfest is a “festival” held in Ohio County, Indiana, where participants (think drunk frat boys & “men”) are literally timed on how quickly they can “manipulate” the Snappers (think torture) to expose their necks, then “grab” them by the exposed neck without having any harm imposed on themselves by the animals. According to the douche Linnea Petercheff of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources [in an email posted here], “Snapperfest is an annual event at a private campground in Indiana at which individuals are timed on how quickly they can capture a common snapping turtle, coax the turtle to stick its head out, and grab it by the neck without killing it and without getting bitten.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has investigated this matter, including a visit to the recent Snapperfest. The event organizer told IDNR that current contest rules prohibit individuals from smacking the turtles on the ground as was seen in a YouTube video circulated widely on the Internet [Cranky's note: I have linked to the video, but be forewarned, it's horrifying and the volume is deafening, so please lower your speakers].
To our knowledge and from our onsite observation, this abuse is no longer allowed at Snapperfest, and we are told the individual seen in the YouTube video can no longer participate in the event.
The IDNR has an interest here to the extent of ensuring that all applicable laws are followed with respect to a wild animal.
The common snapping turtle is one of three turtles considered a game species in Indiana. The other two are the smooth softshell turtle and spiny softshell turtle. All three are subject to state laws that regulate their taking from the wild. Those laws include the purchase and possession of a fishing or hunting license for anyone age 18 or older, plus a daily bag limit and possession limit. Furthermore, Indiana law prohibits the sale of all native turtle species.
Many individuals who have voiced objection to Snapperfest point to the animal cruelty laws found in Indiana Code 35-46-3. However, that law is not applicable in this instance because it provides an exemption for wild animals that are legally taken and possessed under the authority of Indiana Code 14-22.”
Does anyone else smell the bullshit reeking from this email? “Coax” a turtle to expose its neck? How do you even fuckin’ coax a turtle? Oh, I know! You don’t! You strangle it, pull at it, yank it, etc. and then have your PR rep use a fancy word to LIE.
According to the same site where I found that email, Budweiser does not “remember” sponsoring this festival. That’s cool. We all have selective memories about the fucked up shit we do, especially when it involves alcohol, so let’s simply remind Budweiser that if they would ever like to consider sponsoring an event like this, they will lose money via lost consumers and endless headaches.
You can sign a Care2 petition here to stop Snapperfest 2012 (I haven’t confirmed officially that one is set to occur this year, but let’s ensure that one doesn’t, eh?). They have 13,266 signatures so far and were hoping for 14k. So close! Let’s seal the deal. You can also contact Budweiser here.
And, if you need sample verbiage to play with, here’s what I’m sending Budweiser:
Dear Budweiser: Please direct this to your PR person.
As a fellow PR person, I’m going to keep this short and simple since I know you already have more headaches and fires to put out than you bargained for; I can commiserate. So here’s the thing: I drink beer, buy beer and recommend that everyone else have a nice ice-cold beer from time-to-time. But nothing kills my buzz more than animal cruelty. Please save yourself the headache, and incredibly high costs (both direct and indirect) of the crisis communication you’ll invariably have to issue, and DO NOT sponsor Indiana’s Snapperfest 2012. I understand that binge drinking frat boys bereft of a conscience are your target demographic, but you can find plenty of beer-loving and enthusiastic drinkers at a Mud or Spartan run…without the torture and mangling of innocent animals. Win, win for all of us!
Maybe I need to be less snarky. I was never good with that. Feel free to opine in the comments with your suggested verbiage for other readers. And, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this “festival”!
The Cranky One