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Snapperfest 2011: Does Turtle Event Torture Animals?

08/19/2011 02:15 pm 14:15:33 | Updated Oct 19, 2011

Looking for something to do this Saturday? How about a festival where each competitor allegedly yanks a snapping turtle's head until the animal's neck can be wrapped around the contestant's fist?

Welcome to Snapperfest, an event held for over a decade in Ohio County, Indiana.

The annual festival is set to take place on Saturday, August 20th at Campshore Campgrounds, after PETA unsuccessfully tried to stop the event.

"The frightened animals are grabbed by their tails and repeatedly slammed to the ground. Their heads are yanked from their shells, and they are then swung around until 'contestants' are able to wrap their fists around the animals' necks," according to PETA.

Cheering on the turtle-wranglers has grown in popularity, and the organizers insist it is good, clean fun, according to Eagle Country radio.

A Campshore Campground co-owner told the station, "We do not kill the turtles. They are caught by hand. You can't pull the head off a turtle." He went so far as to invite PETA to the event to observe and "see we're not doing anything wrong."

However, according to Examiner.com, many of the 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," Cheryl Hanna writes.

IPFW's Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Management writes, "Collection for human consumption and use may be a threat to the Snapping Turtle in portions of its range. In Indiana, the Snapping Turtle is a game species, and its meat is sometimes used in soups and stews."

PETA's website lists contacts for commissioners, council members and the campground, to urge them to halt the festival.

According to Eagle County radio, Aurora Police Chief Bryan Field said in a statement that although he has received numerous complaints, the event falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Aurora Police Department.

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