The Wall of Shame

Jo-Anne McArthur's Image

Pinned to a wall are the skins of two rattlesnakes. Surrounding each one are signed bloody handprints, triumphant marks of those who skinned a snake at the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup in Texas. What Jo-Anne finds most unsettling about this image is that ‘so many of the bloodied handprints are those of children’.

Each year tens of thousands of rattlesnakes are captured for the festival, where they are decapitated and people can pay to skin them. Festival supporters claim it is important to control the population. But campaigners against roundups argue it is cruel and puts rattlesnakes’ long-term survival at risk.

Behind the lens

Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur


Not only is Jo-Anne a photographer and speaker, she's also the founder of We Animals Media. She has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for close to two decades. Jo-Anne was the subject of the 2013 documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine and is the author of three books: We Animals, Captive and Hidden : Animals in the Anthropocene, which she co-authored with Keith Wilson and which was awarded Photography Book of the Year by Picture of the Year International.

Image details

  • Nikon D800
  • 17–35mm f2.8 lens
  • 1/250 sec at f3.2 (+0.3 e/v)  •   ISO 2000
  • Sweetwater, Texas, USA
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