The Ethics of Culling Snakes

This is a sensitive topic.

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people.

Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction
    Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Before diving in please research the topic using multiple sources and make your OWN judgement.


The issue is the system would never work because it relys in integrity. It would onlybstand to harm those breeders who are open and honest about their practices.
Its a great idea in concept because i agree people shpuld be able to chose what practices to support, but in reality the numbers are too easy to fudge, as there is no way to monitor if they are telling the truth.

Problem with having a badge system on Breeder ethics is based on the Breeder honor system. Not all will be honest and often done from fear of mob related retaliation because social media decided to form a conclusion then express and ultimately result in stated fact. The world is not comprised of mostly intelligence therefore expecting it to form a valid conclusion is futile.

Too often I’ve noticed social media know more about a breeder’s collection then the Breeder. Perhaps a badge system on social media should exist but that too would be futile. I’ve come the conclusion it’s best not to have a conclusion of others since rarely if ever will I be confronted with all the facts.


I read the original statement to mean remove from collection, not kill as so many have assumed. As previously stated, I would presume Corey would have no difficulty on wholesaling the non-project animals. If he clarifies to the contrary than I will stand corrected with no ill will to Corey.

I also think its pretty rich of so many to condemn someone so quickly in this manner. You all feed rodents to your animals. People in glass houses and all that… It is interesting how we draw such moral distinctions between the feeder rodents we all use and the animals they feed.

This is one of those threads that may well descend into petty bickering if not moderated properly. Think hard about your responses and try to look at a range of perspectives rather than simply post the quick emotional retorts so common in these situations.


I find it necessary for someone to explain precisely why it is unethical to cull healthy animals in this specific instance?
Not reasons include:
-It isn’t ethical. (Can’t answer the question with the question. Why, specifically, is this not ethical?)
-I don’t like it. (Appeal to emotion. Why don’t you like it? Because it’s not ethical? WHY isn’t it ethical?)
-It’s a healthy animal. (We’ve already established that our animals eat other healthy animals. This is not a valid argument without appealing to emotion. Reptiles eat healthy rodents, lizards, birds, fish, and yes other snakes.)

I find it more unethical to sell (or even give away) animals carrying an unknown, unproven gene. I would like to think that most of us would want to know whether or not a specific gene had any problems before it was introduced into the the general population. Culling is the textbook method of ensuring just that. It is exactly ethical in this context.


And here is the crux of the arguement. I dont believe those against it are saying feeding healthy animals to other animals is in itself bad. The issue it would appear they are taking is the reason behind it. Feeding healthy animals to an animal that needs it to survive is a necessity. Doing it specifically to retain a particular morph and control a monopoly once the morph is released to the public is the part that is ethically questionable. The act is the same, but the mindset of the individual doing the act is different.

Obviously I do not mean this as an attack on Corey, as he has not stated his intent, nor clarified his meaning of cull. Its possible they were not killed, or that he did not want to release the morph without knowing full well the ramifications it may have when combined with others, and simply couldnt hold on to all the snakes produced in the process. But the act being deemed unethical or at least morally questionable, would be if they were being killed for the sole purpose of denying others access to the gene before he was ready to sell and profit off them (whether that is the case or not i do not know.)


I’m going to sit back on this argument, but there have been a lot of good points for both sides and I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. But, I’ll answer any questions that I know the answer to.


It’s more so the issue that it’s obvious he didn’t sell off the ones of the gene. If you read it, he specifically says he’s the only one with the gene. That means no animals with this gene have ever been sold out of his collection, period. That means that culling did not mean that he was selling those off.
I think many just want clarification. If he chooses to do that, I don’t agree but at the end of the day - that’s his decision.
Just to clarify, I don’t think the sole issue here is whether killing off or culling the snakes is a problem, but more so just doing it 100% to prevent others from working with the gene. Granted, again that is his choice he’s allowed to make, but if that is the case, I don’t agree with it.


I am, reluctantly, wading into this.

I have read through everything here and, much as I want to reply in my normal method, I do not have a free week to hit everything I find relevant. So I am going to hit some highlights with overarching speak

First, there is a massive excess of one thing happening here: ASSUMPTION

Pretty much everyone involved in this conversation is operating on knee-jerk assumption and a complete lack of actual facts. Interpreting the intent of someone’s typed words has been shown countless times to be horribly incorrect, and yet here we are, fifty replies deep, based on everyone jumping off a cliff over assumption

Despite countless assertions to the contrary, no one knows what Corey meant when he used the word “cull”. There are a number of definitions and you do not get to choose the one you want for the purpose of making your argument against him. You have to know his definition to base your argument off of. Asking him to clarify is perfectly fine and I do not object to that. But proceeding to rake him over the coals based on assumption is not cool. Period. End of discussion.
Second, there is a great deal of ignorance here. And I already know that nearly everyone that reads that is going to get their hackles up because they are ignorant of the actual definition of ignorance (see above re: assumption). So let me clarify. Ignorance is nothing more than a lack of knowledge. It does NOT mean you are stupid. It does NOT mean you are dumb.

Let us address some of that ignorance. A sizable part of this hobby are of a generation that grew up within the already well established hobby, a hobby that is heavily influenced by likes and shares and YouTube videos. But that hobby that you are so deeply immersed in was build by men and women that I would not be surprised to find few of you even know.

Without googling:
Who here knows where the name “Lesser” came from?
Who knows where the term “sib” originated?
Who knows what a “Duper” was?
Who knows where SHOCT came from?

Now, you might ask why any of that matters as it seems completely outside the realms of this conversation.

The reason it matters is because, like the above examples, there is so much about the earlier era of the hobby that people are ignorant of because it was never in a YT vid or a FB post. It is stuff from talking around tables at shows or now defunct forums or buried in the depths of kingsnake. And I can tell you, with the absolute confidence of someone that saw and lived through these things first-hand, that every horrible thing people have assumed in this thread has happened within this hobby by SOOOOOOOOOOO many big names.

Ask some old-timers about the GHI war… Ask about the Banana/CG controversies… Ask how KingPin got its name… Ask about Quake and BlackLace… There is controversy behind so many of the morphs in the hobby. Controversies you are ignorant of. Controversies over morphs that you may very well have in your collection.
Which brings me to my third point - hypocrisy.

Both big and small, there is hypocrisy all over the arguments here. What is and is not acceptable… Who is and is not ethical… It is a hard mirror to look into, but many of you need to.
All of that said, I can understand people wanting some clarification here. But, as my father so often says: “people in hell want ice water.” You can want all you like, that does not mean you get what you want.

Corey has no obligation to clarify and, quite frankly, given the vehemence behind some of the words here, I can understand why he might not be keen on giving any kind of answer. If he does choose to answer, then you can decide what to do with the information he provides. If he chooses not to answer, you can make a decision for yourself on what to do about that.


You cannot demand answers

You cannot define his ethics

You cannot assume his actions

Corey is responsible for Corey.

You are responsible for you


All I will say is that I wholeheartedly disagree with your assertion that Corey has no obligation to clarify. Oversight by peers is one of the only ways the reptile hobby specifically makes any progress. Once again, the fact that a practice has happened in the hobby before (by big breeders, by small breeders, in droves, or just a couple of times) does not mean that those of us in the hobby now shouldn’t raise our standards and demand better. Something having been done for decades does not make it above criticism, and someone being established in the hobby also does not place them above that criticism. Eugenics in human populations was widely accepted a century ago. We have grown as a species, thank goodness.

There’s no significant emotion or vehemence here - I made a logical guess based on all of the information written in his original post, and I invited him to clarify. It is Corey’s own lack of clarification that has turned this discussion into one of assumptions.

Ultimately, I have made my points quite clear, so I don’t need to in this conversation any further. If Corey has not culled healthy animals in this case, I would love to hear that clarification from him. If he has, that is not something that we have to accept simply because many people probably do it.

Just a quick clarification here, selective breeding is eugenics and when done correctly is a massive boon to a species when breeding health issues away. WW2 brought out the dark side of eugenics, but remember that it is not always a bad thing. You can control a breeding pool without genocide.

The large issue in humans is the removal of freedoms and choice. In animals people dont really care about that so much.

1 Like

No, you did not.

You assumed intent his use of “cull”. You jumped to the conclusion it meant he was killing animals with no rhyme, reason, or remorse.

That is not logical, that is an assumption.

You then put him on public blast

And, with each subsequent post further implying wrongdoing.

There is more than one way to paint someone black. It is flagrantly obvious when you do it by dumping a gallon of paint over their head. It is an altogether more subtle (and some might say nefarious) technique to do so little bit by little bit.


Im not going to point fingers because i have just as many pointing to me.

We all bear responsibility of this regardless of whether we accept or acknowledge it ourselves since we all own pets.
If there was no demand for the animals than the breeders wouldn’t be there to supply them.

We all want that WOW animal but don’t really know how it came to be and i think we don’t want to know or put any thoughts into it.Whether we have owned that rat or bunny or frenchie, we all have been apart of selective breeding projects.

Animals wouldn’t get poached from the wild if there wasn’t a demand on the otherside as pets or other products.

As much as people want you cannot force morality etc. Out of people, you can only enforce your own morality upon yourself and hope that it would inspire them to do the same.

If we don’t agree with something such as culling/selective breeding etc. Then we should stop supporting the industry by buying pets.

Im no better than anyone else because i participate in the pet industry. I can say what i would or wouldn’t do but i cannot expect others would follow suit.

I really don’t think anyone has a right to tell another person how to think, feel or act. We can look at our own country for that just look at all the laws and regulations telling people just that, somebody somewhere said “hey people shouldn’t get to do this or that, or they shouldn’t be able to own X”

Being former military i had a certain code of ethics and honor i believed in and followed just as most of my fellow service members. When i got out i had the hardest time adjusting because i was like “why don’t these people have my standards of ethics” it took me a very long time to realize that i can only conduct myself in a manner that is inline with my values and hope others would want to emulate.


I feel this is an important point to make, and the main reason i brought up that this type of thing is accross the whole pet industry and not just in the reptile hobby.

At the end of the day, you can choose to support a person or not, and Wymans point of dont make assumptions holds true with this. If you want to make an assumption about a person, nobody here can stop you. It can have logic leading to it, but unless you know for sure, it should be used to form your own opinion, and guide you to ask questions for clarification. I think the place some users are getting upset on the other side here is how he is being treated as guilty unless proven innocent.

I get the reasoning behind thinking he euthanized the animals in some way shape or form, but it is an important reminder that none of us should be demonizing a person without 100% assurance they have done the act, and even then, intent matters. If he did do it, we still dont know his reasoning, and doing testing to ensure it is safe to breed and getting a sufficiently large data pool to know so before allowing them out into the hobbt may cost 50-100 lives, but if an issue was found may save thousands of lives if everyone started breeding them once out of his control.

So my opinion i feel comfortable stating is under the following circumstance, i would not be comfortable dealing with this person, and would personally feel they acted in an unethical manner. If any one of these factors is missing, then i would not see a problem:

  1. All animals produced were perfectly healthy with no defects.

  2. All animals taken out of the project were killed instead of rehomed or sold.

  3. The sole purpose of putting the animals down was to protect a financial interest or personal claim to fame.

Because of the uncertainty, there are many things that may be the case that cannot be ignored. The animals may be alive, if they are dead, he may have protecting the many by killing the few to ensure no genetic issues before allowing it to be released.

At the end of the day, while a reply for him would help clear much of this up, i can see why one would be afraid to respond even if they did nothing wrong.

I acknowledge and recognize if this person does meet the above criteria, they wont be the first or last, and i have likely dealt with the products of such behavior in the past, but this is something I already addressed in my previous posts, and something Wyman covered quiet clearly in his, so i wont beat a dead horse on that front.


The problem is, that he said that no one else has the mutation besides him. Meaning he couldn’t have sold them off. Culling in most cases, especially these days, means to control the population through selective killing. Means the same thing for hunters too.


He stated non-project animals, meaning non-Eramosa gene carriers. Normals and other non Eramosa animals could be released to the trade without any homozygous Eramosa leaving the collection.


I think some need to go look at their freezer full of frozen rodents and ask themselves if this trade/hobby is really for you. After all, those were healthy animals at one point too. How many frozen rodents have you personally wasted? I know I’ve thrown my fair share out.

Just something to think about.


To be clear, what he exactly stated “Any combos that were not used were culled from the collection.”

Which, to be fair, is a bit ambiguous, so it could mean any animals that came out without the gene, or it could mean any animal he produced during the project that he didnt use.

Another area of uncertainty, so it could be either or.


I know I’ve thrown some out in my time. (Ball python/hognose keeper) and we all know how picky they can be at times. Also I’m not a vegan/not against eating meat or animal products as long as they were humanely dispatched.

Personally I don’t think I have the heart to euthanize healthy animals unless it comes down to feeding it to something else. (We all gotta eat)

It’s likely a bridge I’m going to have to cross when I eventually do start breeding. (Though personally I’d likely sell off stuff as pet only non disclosed genetics) or sell to a wholesaler. But again once as you hand that animal off to someone (or anyone really) you hope (and assume) it’s going to be loved and well taken care of. For me as far as others I wouldn’t judge because there are upsides and downsides as far as both ends of the argument.

The only person I can control is myself. Also maybe this sounds cowardly but I’d rather not know one way or the other. And I just hope that person does what they truly feel in their heart to be the more compassionate path for them.


Just a quick note on this. I have to imagine this is how people with snakes that feed on snakes get food for their snake, so it may just be skipping the middle man to do yourself in that sense. But im not sure since i dont have any kingsnakes.