Snapperfest is an obscure Indiana festival where participants have to yank a snapping turtle’s head out of its shell until they can wrap their hands around its neck.
It has been taking place in Ohio County, Indiana, for over a decade, despite PETA’s numerous attempts to shut it down, and sadly, it was organized this year as well, on August 20th. As always a big crowd gathered at Campshore Campgrounds to see the “brave” competitors tormenting a bunch of frightened snapping turtles. Now that right there sounds like a great way to spend your weekend.
Every Snapperfest contestant has to run up to a tank full of snapping turtles, grab one by its tail, slam it onto a piece of tarp and yank its head out of the shell. Apparently, each participant has his own techniques to get the wild-caught turtles to reveal their heads, but most popular are the repeated slamming against the ground, and pounding on the shell. While the crowd cheers them on, they grab the snapper turtle’s head and yank it out enough to wrap their hands around its neck. The one who manages to yank the turtle’s head fastest, wins.
Contacted by an animal lover, the state of Indiana claimed it investigated the matter and could find nothing wrong with the proceedings, adding that practices like slamming the turtles against the ground, as seen in the video below, or killing the turtles, are no longer allowed. Furthermore, the organizers said the guy shown in the video is no longer competing at Snapperfest. Still, the Examiner claims many of the snapping turtles are killed. “Most suffer fatal injuries or die from stress, and since turtles are cold-blooded animals, they lanquish and suffer excruciating pain for a long time until death relieves them of their pain.” Also, I read that if one of the snappers bites a contestant, it is killed because once it grabs you, it doesn’t let go.
Watch the videos and decide for yourself if such “festivals” should still be around in a country that considers itself a world leader…