According to the Straits Times, the Indian snake charming community is protesting a new West Bengali law that places snakes on the endangered species list. They claim it effectively ends snake charming as a career. The snake charmers say they have a right to pursue their profession, which is to use the snakes as part of their act. Animal rights groups say the snake charmers "are cruel imposters who use physical abuse to train the reptiles to move to the sway of their flute-like instruments. The entertainers generally rip out the snakes' fangs and feed them milk...." When the snakes are eventually returned to the wild they cannot fend for themselves and die, hence the necessity for intervention under the Wildlife Protection Act passed some eight years ago. Snake charmers also want the government to allow them to use their expertise in extracting snake venom for "medical uses." Read more here in an article from Newsday.com.
I don't see why, if the snake charmers need "safe snakes," they can't keep the snakes they have, and care for them until they die, instead of returning them to the wild to die so cruelly. If they need a fresh supply of snakes, then why can't they breed them in captivity? If they need to defang them, why not defang them humanely? If they know so much about extracting snake venom, then they know how to deal with the snakes without getting bitten. There's something missing from the story here.