Celebrating the Success of Snake Liberation!

Celebrating the Success of Snake Liberation!

Nagala Chauthi, the festival worshipping cobras, is observed a few days after Diwali. Prior to the actual date of the festival, cobras used to be captured and their mouths were stitched up so that only the tongue could come out. Their fangs were also removed and these snakes suffered deeply in these conditions without food or water for almost 10 days. Unsurprisingly, most of these cobras would die after going through such trauma. Those that were alive after the festival would be in a really bad state where we had no choice but to euthanize several of them. 

At VSPCA, we have rescued over 800 cobras. Our team members have been arrested and attacked  many times because we tried to put a stop to this cruelty. However, over the years, we have been focusing our efforts on education and spreading awareness about this issue. Snakes are important members of healthy ecosystems. They keep rodents and several animals we deem “pests” away – which also reduce disease risks. Snakes typically, never harm humans. They keep to their business and slink away if we keep to ours.  

Importantly, VSPCA has expanded efforts to share alternate, humane ways of celebrating this festival. We encourage not capturing the snakes at all! 

People have been very open to this idea and it has helped the snake populations immensely. Today, people celebrate the festivals using snake idols in their houses and in temples. 

It took over six years to bring about a shift in the attitudes of people. Traditions are hard to break; however, with persistence and reason, people do listen. 

The VSPCA staff are deeply proud to announce that over the last three years, there have been no deaths of cobras during this festival because of our consistent efforts to get to the root of the issues. 

As for those who used to capture cobras, VSPCA has employed a few persons as animal caretakers, to help care for the wilder animals in the shelter – such as primates, snakes, raptors, emus, and star-tortoises.

We would like to thank everyone for their support of our programs.  We cannot achieve such goals without the collaborative efforts of all in the community, and aid from India and abroad. Our programs are well beyond rescue and treatment for animals. They dive deeper into core issues of equity for all vulnerable living beings, alternative livelihoods for humans, animal habitat conservation, food security for both human and nonhumans, biodiversity sustenance, urban animal respect and management, and more.   

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