Thailand Ends Snake Blood Ritual at Cobra Gold 2021 After PETA Outcry

Washington — Following a vigorous PETA campaign that included formal complaints to top Department of Defense officials and protests outside the Pentagon, a representative of the Thai armed forces has reported to PETA that no snakes, lizards, or any other animals were used or killed in this year’s Cobra Gold military exercises in Thailand. 

“PETA exposed the fact that forcing service members to eat animals alive and suck down cobra blood is dangerous and cruel,” says PETA Asia Vice Senior President Jason Baker. “Such barbarity needs to be relegated to the history books, and this year demonstrates that no animals should ever again be used at Cobra Gold events.”

Earlier this year, PETA Asia wrote a letter to the prime minister and minister of defence of Thailand urging him to end the bloodlust killing of animals, which sullies the honour of Thailand and endangers species who are vulnerable to extinction.

During last year’s Cobra Gold, marines and instructors were recorded killing chickens with their bare hands, skinning and eating live geckos, consuming live scorpions and tarantulas, decapitating cobras and drinking their blood, and otherwise reveling in the ritualistic killing and consumption of animals—all acts that would potentially violate Thai and U.S. cruelty-to-animals laws and, arguably, the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

As part of its campaign, PETA filed a petition for rulemaking to Austin III and complaints to Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger, then–Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Vice Admiral John V. Fuller.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.