M A I N   N E W S

Cobra venom as party drug!
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, February 13
Chocolates and flowers, the accepted symbols of the Valentine's Day, and venom of a deadly cobra do not gel together. However, if activists of People for Animals (PFA) are to be believed, then the seizure of a half-a-litre of deadly poison and five cobras today from a Delhi-bound bus proves that rich and spoilt are fast becoming addicted to a new party drug - venom of the Schedule-I reptile Cobra.

Party or club drug are used by the moneyed at rave parties and in discos to enhance sensation and boost energy so that revellers can dance for longer periods. However, as per PFA activist Saurabh Gupta, cobra venom is emerging as a favoured drug of those whose systems have become used to the tested and tried drugs.

Gupta says the seizure of poison and five cobras follows similar seizures by the police on the PFA tip-off before Diwali and the New Year day. While the NCR region, primarily Gurgaon, and to some extent Chandigarh and rich urban areas of Punjab, are the consumption zones, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are the source areas.

For sourcing this half-a-litre of venom, costing couple of crores in the international market, as many as 100 cobras would have been sacrificed through illegal activities, violating the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Indian Wildlife Act.

Because of their dwindling numbers, cobras are placed on Schedule I of the Act, according them very high protection. "Still it is being widely traded, largely unchecked," he says.

A snake generally dies within six to eight weeks after venom is extracted from its body. For a snake venom serves two main functions - first, the immobilization of prey and second, the digestion of prey. It is a complex mixture of proteins, enzymes, and various other substances. Because of its high potency, cobra poison is generally used in a highly diluted form. "The 500-ml seized today would have been used by 5,000 persons. It is very expensive and only very rich people can afford it," he says.





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