Aqua - He was asking for our opinions, and we have a right to give them. Saying we can't give our opinions just because we haven't been to one isn't very open minded.
I too think they are awful.
1. So being stressed beyong belief isn't torture? How about those "grab the most rattlers in 30 seconds as you can and stuff them into a bag while a bunch of hicks watch and stamp their feet and yell and shout?" Being skinned alive? Or how about pinned down before having your head chopped off?
2. I have nothing against eating snakes, provided they are killed humanely. While I could never do it myself, it would be hipocritical for a non-vegan or non-vegetarian to be against eating snakes.
3. So? You don't have to pull them out of the wild, stress them, milk them, then chop their heads off.
4. The point of the show is to excite people, by seeing venomous snakes being handled (and later, killed).
5. Granted, the population cannot be allowed to increase to impossible numbers. But there are better ways of controling animal populations than this!
I have kept mice and do keep rats. I DONT breed my rats in the wild, go chase them and snatch them up, toss them around, show them to yelling kids and clapping adults, pin them down, grab them, skin them alive or decapitate them. No. My rodents live good, painfree lives before they are killed HUMANELY.
And rattlers don't seek out 2 year olds and bite them for the heck of it. A rattler doesn't think like "Hey! Theres an unsuspecting baby, I think I'm going to bite it." Heck no. If the kid grabs it or steps on it, THEN it will bite, and it's up to the parent to educate and supervise the kids. Anyone, anywhere could let a kid run around, the kid would go pet a nice doggy, and the dog could easily kill the kid. And we all know how many dogs exist in populated areas, and the fact that dogs kill WAY more people than snakes do.
Thomas -- I hear ya! That's like me when I'm happy when matadores get gored. I just hate it that they rarely die, they deserve to.