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The reasoning behind my argument...

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Posted by Zac on February 17, 2002 at 18:22:15:

In Reply to: AS FAR AS PRICES?????? posted by Todd Evans on February 17, 2002 at 14:31:51:

First off, I am a member as result of giving a talk, and did not ask to be one. I believe giving a talk would count as a means of helping out your organization if I’m not mistaken. I would gladly help out more if I could, but I am attending college and can’t make it to the meetings. Prior to this show I personally sent at least 10 people from the Wheeling area up to your show that would not have attended had I not spoken to them, and I know they purchased animals when they attended. This post was also not meant to be an attack at any one person. Lisa, Steve and yourself are all very knowledgeable people as far as herpetology is concerned, and I am certainly not going to question your abilities in the field. I was just frightened at the “macho” attitudes of several of the people at the show. It seemed to me that people were there to buy deadly snakes for all the wrong reasons. These animals need to be respected, and information as far as toxicity and ld50 values should be public knowledge in a situation such as this. Many people don’t realize how deadly some of those snakes are. Besides the word “venomous” I saw no other kind of warning to the public. Maybe a differentiation between the concentrations of venoms would be of good use. Maybe the terms dangerous, highly venomous, and lethal may be a kind of system you could use. You could have a poster at the ticket table with definitions of these various terms so every one was on the same level. A colored sticker could then be associated with one of those three terms and placed on every venomous snake for sale. A simple sticker and people instantly know the virulence of the venoms from these snakes. To the average person a Death Adder and a Copperhead are equally dangerous. We know the major difference between these two snakes, they don’t. I realize most of the people there to buy a snake were looking for a specific species, but some of those people were truly inexperienced. And as far as the person tapping on the Pakistan, I know he was not interested in buying it, and simply wanted to get it to hood out of curiosity. I know this because he made reference to how crazy these people are for owning this stuff. No one was there to tell him to stop. I waited about a minute for someone to notice before I stepped in and asked him to stop aggravating the snake. At the show previous to this one I also noticed someone kicking at a Red Spitting Cobra to see it spit. The snake was purposely kept in a ten gallon under the dealers table for this very reason. Someone asked him if they really spit, so the dealer promptly got out of his seat, shook the tank, and the cobra sprayed venom all over the side of the tank. So I guess in order to make sure these snakes are healthy, we need to aggravate them to the point that they feel the need to defend themselves. Yeah right. If you want to see if a snake is healthy you check for sagging skin, mouth rot, retained spectacles, mites, a clean cloaca, and several other aspects of that particular snakes health. Several of the people present were just curious people from the street. I heard the phrase “What a bunch of Wackos” and “These people are crazy” whispered as I walked by the various dealers. I don’t want people to associated those kinds of thoughts with what its all about to be a herper. Most of us are not danger seeking testosterone laden thrill seekers, but rather dedicated passionate individuals with a healthy respect for these animals. I believe that this is the kind of image you all are trying to foster. Showing off the dangerous aspects of these animals is not the way to achieve that image! Our view in the public eye is very important, and literally dictates whether we are allowed to own herps or not. Maybe my values are changing as far as the hobby is concerned, but I still stand firm in what I have said. And as far as the market dictates prices, you know as well as I do that most of those nonvenomous snakes will be showing up at the Monroeville show next Sun, and will be cheaper. The market did not dictate those prices, they were simply ridiculously high. Is there any kind of regulations as far as buying venomous snakes at the show. Do you need to be X years old. I realize no one there is going to sell a Cobra to a ten year old, but what about a fifteen year old? It’s no wonder dealers mysteriously didn’t show up. They have reputations to uphold! Your abilities at being amateur herpetologist are not what I am questioning, its your professionalism and image in the public eye.

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