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Possibly against better judgement...

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Posted by: eunectes4 at Mon Feb 19 13:41:15 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by eunectes4 ]  

Here is my thought. I hope I can still come into work tomorrow : )

My main stance is...what's the point in altering the animal with invasive surgery? It "might" lower the chances of envenomation if bitten, but dead is dead. So being bitten is a bit close. Maybe when a zoo can figure out how to make an elephant not weigh so much and not be dangerous...I might start re-thinking a little more about this. And I am absolutely certain I will be forced to think about it more in the future. I wasn't all for having my dogs sex organs removed to prevent cancer in those organs...but the dog sits with me now...minus the weight of a uterus and ovaries.

I guess you could call me leaning on the philosophical side a little.

Here was a response I had for some kids who asked me about it.

I have to say there is no "safe" snake in these cases. The surgery does not exist. Even surgeries as medically advanced and controlled as heart surgeries have complications. And this happens with the best doctors and technology we have on the planet. Not everything can be completely controlled when we are dealing with complex matters of biology.

So from here we have to look at the surgery we are talking about with venomoids. There is very little in the way of scientific information that has been studied on this. This leaves a lot of room for things we do not expect and mistakes to happen...Especially when compared to what we know and the work that has been done by heart surgeons.

So we have to understand that whenever working with these animals we are dealing with a threat to our life. You cannot cut any fewer corners and you cannot do anything different or you will end up being someone who was shot by a gun that wasn't loaded.

Maybe there is a very good chance the surgery went well and you will be alright. But it doesn't matter because dead is still dead.

With the complications of surgery I already mentioned, we really do not know of how able one is to not have venom. Again, this is not something that has been studied well enough. It would certainly benefit scientists to know exactly what roles venom plays in the life of a snake. But nobody has been willing to go through the amount of work it would take to find out. It is not worth it. A surgery would have to be developed which is accepted by a majority of scientists which is found as a "reasonable" means of determining the snake is not producing venom any more. And remember, this is still not 100%. It would only be the best thing most scientists can find. We have already covered that this has not happened yet and I do not think it ever will.

It will not because there is not enough motive there, because even once a surgery was would take removing the venom glands of hundreds (at least) of snakes and examining the results over the entire life of each snake in order to see a decent result. And there would still be margins of error you cannot control for. This even goes beyond your margin of error each surgery already has. This would be just to get a good idea of what the effects were on ONE species. It would take years. And it could be studied forever and you would still find out new things and you might even find out most of the past work was completely wrong.

This is how science is. Think of all the medical advances we have made in the last 100 years and think of what new things we are still finding out.

We take risks in medical science to try and save lives.

A venomoid surgery is a risk to both the snake and the human involved. So this brings us back to why we cannot take the risk error. We already know error exists with the surgery; we cannot then take any more risks than we would have taken if we "knew" the snake was still venomous.

Because once again...dead is dead and all risks and errors are over from that point on.


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