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Snake charmers’ musical protest falls on deaf ears

Posted Feb 20 2009 7:22pm

Snake charmer.jpg
Nearly 1,000 Indian snake charmers marched through the streets playing their flutes to demand the right to perform with live snakes.

Such acts have been banned in India since 1991 but they remain common in tourist areas and villages. The technique – playing a flute to charm the snake out of a basket – is often handed down from father to son and charmers say that their way of life is threatened.

Animal rights activists say that it's cruel because the snakes sometimes have their mouths sewn shut, fangs removed or venom glands pierced to protect handlers. Snakes are deaf and their “dancing” motion is a self-defence response to vibrations they perceive as threatening. The Times

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