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PETA: Snake-hunting contest will ‘create a machete-wielding army’ of amateur hunters

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is up in arms over a Florida snake-hunting contest, according to WFSU.

The Sunshine State is preparing for a snake-hunting contest in the Everglades beginning on Saturday. While PETA is demanding a decapitation ban, WFSU notes that decapitation is one of three lethal methods that Florida has approved in the Python Challenge. The snake-hunting contest is reportedly attracting snake hunters from far and wide to help the Sunshine State rid itself of an infestation of non-native Burmese pythons.

This snake hunt is such a big deal for the state of Florida that a website has been launched with information about the contest for interested hunters.

“The FWC is encouraging the public to get involved in helping us remove Burmese pythons from public lands in south Florida,” said Kristen Sommers, head of the FWC’s Exotic Species Coordination Section, in a statement. “By enlisting both the public and Florida’s python permit holders in a month-long competitive harvesting of Burmese pythons, we hope to motivate more people to find and harvest these large, invasive snakes. The Python Challenge gives people a chance to sign up for a competition to see who can catch the longest or the most pythons.”

Despite the excitement brewing in the Sunshine State over the Python Challenge, PETA members are less than impressed.

This is going to create a machete-wielding army of inexperienced snake hunters,” said Lori Kettler, with PETA, according to WFSU. “We’re quite concerned that any concern for the snakes’ pain and suffering is likely to go without notice or consequence.”

According to The News International, participants must pay a $25 entry fee and take an online training course to participate in the competition. The Florida state wildlife agency, however, is offering cash prizes of $1,500 for the “most” pythons captured and $1,000 for the “longest” python.

PETA’s demand for a decapitation ban in the Florida’s snake-hunting contest comes shortly after the group protested the death of several animals, who were being kept at a farm for use in Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

According to animal handlers involved in the “Hobbit” films, as many as 27 were killed due to the condition of the farm where they were being kept.

“There is no ‘back again’ for the animals who suffered and died during The Hobbit‘s production,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is encouraging moviegoers to let Jackson know that using live animals—and letting them die—is unacceptable in our age of breathtaking special effects.

According to the group’s website, PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. PETA spends its energy on helping animals that suffer on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories and in the entertainment industry. The organization also works on issues such as the cruel killing of beavers and birds as well as cruelty toward domesticated animals.

Does PETA have a point? Should a decapitation ban be implemented in the Florida snake-hunting contest? Sound off in the comments section.