The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization is furious about Python Challenge rules which allow the decapitation of the large snakes. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) organized the hunt to help alleviate problems the non-native species is causing in the Everglades.
PETA feels that decapitating pythons is not a humane form of euthanasia. The 2013 Python Challenge website notes that while python decapitation is not the “recommended method” of euthanizing pythons, the procedure is considered acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
While PETA conceded in a letter to the FWC that snake decapitation allowable by AVMA guidelines, the animal rights group does not believe the procedure will be executed properly in the wild.
An excerpt from the PETA letter about the Florida Python Challenge reads:
“This bounty hunt is misguided in the first place, but allowing hunters to decapitate pythons, who remain alive and in agony and who will writhe for an hour even after their heads have been cut off, is despicably cruel. It is incumbent on the commission to revise its instructions to hunters prior to the start of the contest on January 12 to exclude decapitation as an authorized method of killing.”
A host of adventure seekers who paid a $25 fee and spent approximately 30 minutes completing an online training session are permitted to participate in the Florida python hunt. At least 400 python hunters had signed up for the Florida event by January 11.
Python Challenge organizers hope the hunt will help in the fight against the non-native invasive species of snake, the Huffington Post notes. Cash prizes will be awarded to the python hunters who capture both the most and the longest snakes.