Texas Gasses Its Rattlesnakes This Weekend–Maybe for the Last Time

” The Sweetwater Rattlesnake round-up to proceed as planned, but the question of whether Texas will end the practice of ‘gassing’ still hangs in the balance.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

(Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images) (Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images)

Members of the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Commission had a rare opportunity in January to commit an act of political courage. If they’d done it, hundreds of native Texans—and the creatures living around them—might have been spared a needlessly horrifying death this week.

A vote originally scheduled for the commission’s January meeting would have ended the practice of spraying gas fumes into cracks and crevices in the ground to drive rattlesnakes out of their dens. The groggy victims get tossed into bags and delivered to a rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, a town of 10,600 about three hours west of Fort Worth, which has made itself notorious with this practice. Because of the non-vote, the roundup will take place this Saturday and Sunday as usual.

The practice of gassing snakes, once common, is now regarded as barbaric even by the state’s other rattlesnake roundups. More than…

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