I don’t often branch out into conservation, but take a look at this. Anybody see the problem here with Ms. Sustainable-Farm-to-Fork (AKA Stacy Lyn Harris)?
http://gameandgarden.com/about-stacy/ Ok. She’s a lawyer, and a mommy. No clue about ecology though.
So, fine. Stacy”s got kids. Like most mommies, her instincts tell her to nuke anything that’s a breath of danger to her kids. See snake! Blast snake! Kill! Kill! Kill!
But folks, being a gorgeous mommy with a law degree does not excuse such moronic drivel praising and encouraging slaughter of snakes, even if they are venomous.
Let’s also get something straight about copperhead bites. Very few people die from copperhead bites. Usually, people die of anaphylaxis after their second or third copperhead bite. That’s like what happens to some people that are stung by bees. It’s not the venom. It’s the IgE immune response. Anaphylaxis is what happens to people allergic to peanuts and things.
Seriously, death by copperhead is incredibly rare. Death from copperhead happens once every 2-3 years, if that. If you look at those cases, most of them are people who picked up the snake. Bites are very common, so common that it is hard to get stats specific to copperheads. CDC keeps stats on all venomous snakebites, estimating 7,000-8,000 per year, and roughly 5 of those die.
Rodents kill people by spreading disease. Hantavirus has infected 637 people since 1993. 229 of those people died, despite medical care. Just from hantavirus, twice as many people die as die of all venomous snakebites each year. Bubonic plague (also spread by rodents) infects about 10 people a year and with antibiotics, on average, one of those dies. (Even when plague kills a mountain lion and a ranch hand gets if from skinning the carcass, the root cause is rodents.) Leptospirosis is carried by wild rodents. So is tularemia.
None of those are major causes of death. Contrast that with death by distracted driving (texting on your phone). Texting kills around 400 people a month in the USA. Lightning averages around 75 deaths per year.
I’m sorry, Stacy, but Farm to Fork is not about slaughtering snakes just because they exist. They are wild creatures, and friends of farmers, just like hawks, falcons and other predatory birds. And let’s not forget that in three states, Iowa, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, copperheads are protected species.