Letter From Bangkok

Cobra Gold's bloody snake spectacle draws criticism

Detractors say drinking of snake blood in exercise's jungle survival segment is inhumane and risky

US Marines tasting snake blood during Exercise Cobra Gold.PHOTO: EXERCISECOBRAGOLD/FACEBOOK

BANGKOK - Thai jungle survival instructor Pairoi Prasarnsai has been teaching for 28 years. During last year's Cobra Gold military exercise, the Thai Marine Chief Petty Officer (First Class) once again turned showman before rapt American soldiers.

"Banana tree!" he roared in Thai, before cutting it in half and wringing its stem to release moisture into the open mouth of a United States Marine seated on the forest floor. The instructor thrust a bunch of native plants in their faces, letting out a bestial growl each time one of them took a bite.

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