A man who helped kill a Burmese python in front of journalists at a Hallandale Beach processing plant broke the rules governing the hunting of the non-native snakes in the Everglades, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Josh Zarmati, a Miami snake breeder, was one of several licensed snake dealers allowed by the state to kill pythons in the Everglades. But under the rules, he was required to either kill the python where it was found or bring it to a veterinarian or research facility, said Scott Hardin, the agency’s exotic species coordinator.
Instead, Zarmati brought two pythons last week to All American Gator in Hallandale Beach and held one down while the company’s president, Brian Wood, whacked off its head with a hatchet. The top four inches of the snake continued to writhe, the mouth opening and closing, until Wood smashed it several times with the hatchet’s blunt end. An account appeared in Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel.
Mr. Zarmati mentions that killing the snakes in front of news photographers is taboo for fear of reaction from extremist groups like PETA. But ironically, PETA seems to defend Zarmati and Wood’s actions and in fact, illustrates that PETA is not only an expert on killing dogs and cats – it knows how to kill pythons too:
Stephanie Bell, cruelty case manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the most humane method is lethal injection, but if that is impractical in the field it is best to first stun the snake and then decapitate it or to decapitate it and immediately pithe it, that is, scramble its brain with a metal tool.
She said Wood did the right thing by whacking it on the head to put it out of its misery.
File under New Things I Learned Today and Things I Could Live Without Knowing