When visiting a foreign country, we are often fascinated by the exotic wildlife we encounter. In fact, many of us are drawn to different destinations where we can experience animals in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, in our desire to see these captivating animals, we often frequent places that are not in their best interests.
One such place is Dong Tam Snake Farm in Tien Giang province in Vietnam, a snake-breeding facility run by the Vietnamese military in which the welfare of snakes and other wild animals seems to be last on the list of priorities, with making a profit the biggest concern. This is evident by the fact that tourists can purchase snakeskin bags at the farm and that snakes are also bred to be used in the production of snake wine, glue, and flour.
Wanting to see local wildlife, many tourists put this snake farm on their itineraries, but what they get is a different experience altogether—one that is far from pleasant.
Life for the captive animals is far removed from all that is natural and important to them. The snakes spend their days in cramped, severely crowded cages or tanks, barely able to stretch or move. Like any animal, cold-blooded or not, snakes just want to be free. But they can only peer out from behind mesh wiring.
The situation is equally grim and heartbreaking for the other animals unfortunate enough to be imprisoned at Dong Tam Snake Farm. Many people—tourists and locals alike—are struck with sadness at seeing the two bears who pace around their barren concrete cage in a constant state of frustration. These intelligent animals have nothing at all to stimulate them or to enrich their lives.
The situation is similar for the monkeys, who also have to endure being poked and prodded by children, as without trees to climb and branches to grasp, they can cling only to their cage bars. What also strikes many tourists is the lack of constant food and water available to the animals in such sweltering heat. One tourist told me of her particular sadness at seeing a lone yellow turtle’s sweet face staring out at her from a filthy aquarium, while countless others are shocked at the birds who don’t have room to spread their wings, let alone fly.
Despite our wish to see wild animals, it’s more important that they remain just that—wild. Always remember to boycott places like Dong Tam Snake Farm because long after the tourists go home, the animals will remain behind metal bars.
Care about the fate of animals? Pledge not to go to zoos today!
Posted by Samantha Pulsford