Treatment of Snakes

The goal of having a "rattlesnake derby" is two-fold: (1) allow local organizations to generate revenue; and (2) expose people to the rattlesnake as safely as
possible for all that is involved, including the animal. The rattlesnake is an essential part of the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby. Therefore, the Shortgrass
Rattlesnake Association ("Association") constantly develops new methods of ensuring that the animal is kept in an adequate, safe, and stress free
environment. The Association employs a climate controlled "private pit." The "private pit" is located in the Association's main building out of view from the
general public. The "private pit" is large enough to prevent most snakes from being stored in boxes. Furthermore, snakes stored in the private pit are provided
fresh water and artificial cover.

In addition, the Association limits its interaction with the snakes. The Association interacts snakes only as necessary. Snakes that are not used as part of the
show are handled twice: moving snakes to the private pit and from the private pit to the buyer's boxes. Snakes that are part of the show are handled only as
necessary to educate the public about the rattlesnake. The snakes handled during the show are headed to display outside anatomy of the snake and the
"mechanics of the bite." Snakes in the public pit are constantly shuffled to prevent the snakes from smothering one another or overheating. Snakes in platform
display boxes are also shuffled as needed to prevent overheating. The handling is only necessary to ensure the survival and well-being of the snake.

The Association will not buy snakes sooner than two weeks before the Derby. The Association adopted the two-week purchase rule in order to ensure that
snakes are not deprived of food while in the possession of the Association. Typically, adult rattlesnakes eat once every two weeks. The vast majority of snakes
purchased by the Association are adult snakes. Therefore, the Association does not deprive snakes of food. When the snakes are in the possession of the
Association, they do not miss a meal. The Association is only responsible for the treatment of the snakes while in its possession.

Also, the Association has decided to promote education over "dare-devil" stunts. The Association's shows are centered on educating people about the animal
and its habitat, not entertaining people with foolish stunts that risks the well-being of the animal and the life of the handler. In years past, the Association has
expelled members for their blatant disrespect for the animal. The Association promotes safety, avoidance, snake-bite first-aid, and identification. Our record is
indicative of this premise. Since 1966, only four Association members received a snake bite.

The Association wants to make it absolutely clear that it does not, under any circumstances, "milk" snakes. Milking snakes only puts the "milker" at risk of
being bitten and places undue stress on the animal. The Association recognizes that snake venom has many potential medicinal uses. However, any venom
that could be taken from the animals during the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby would be tainted with natural, as well as external, impurities that would render the
sample useless for medicinal uses. The venom used for medical purposes is extracted from domestically bred snakes and extracted in a sterile laboratory.
Furthermore, most professional snake milkers will be bitten at some point during their career. Thus, the Association does not waste its time putting the animal
through un-needed hardships and exposing handlers to un-needed danger. We do not milk and will not milk any snake.

The Association does put on a "butcher shop show." The animals are dispatched according to acceptable commercial practices. Snakes are killed and
processed. The "show's" intention is to process snakes to prepare for purchase. As stated, the Association follows the acceptable commercial practices for
butchering snakes. Not everybody will agree with the Association's method. However, the Association constantly looks for new ways to improve the efficiency of
the butchering process.

Hopefully, this discussion has shed light on the Association's attempts to provide a safe environment to bring the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake to the
public. The Association recognizes that improvement could always be made. Therefore, it is constantly trying to evolve its methods to comport with modern
conceptions and try to correct modern misconceptions about the rattlesnake

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