Indonesian troops in Jakarta entertained U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at a military demonstration earlier this week—by cutting the heads off live snakes and drinking their blood. According to news reports, at least one soldier tore a snake in half with his teeth.
A disturbing video shared on social media shows the snakes being aggressively handled by the soldiers before they’re gruesomely killed. One soldier is seen wrapping a snake around his neck like a scarf.
These snakes were killed violently for a few fleeting moments of distraction for humans.
There is nothing entertaining about events like this for snakes and other animals, who belong in their natural habitats—not on a stage where they’re subjected to the stress of loud noise and being handled. Sadly, animal-protection laws, particularly for animals in entertainment displays, are essentially non-existent in Indonesia. Fighting awful situations like these isn’t usually possible from a legal standpoint because, for the most part, no laws are being broken.
What You Can Do
Don’t support any shows, circuses, or zoos that exploit animals. Avoid any business that offers photo ops with animals. If you want to observe them, consider visiting or volunteering at an accredited sanctuary. Or if you’re looking for something fun to do, go to a non-animal circus.