AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -

Using gasoline fumes to force rattlesnakes from their dens will be banned if a state wildlife proposal is implemented.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department say the pumping of fumes to force out rattlers also threatens 20 species of endangered animals that live underground.

The department will hold six public hearings on the proposal in January in cities across the state, including Sweetwater where rattlers are rounded up annually in a charity event attended by tens of thousands.

Sweetwater Jaycee member David Sager told the newspaper that a ban would "kill" the "World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup," which brings millions in economic benefits to the town each March.

Tim Cole, the owner of a business called Austin Reptile Service, called the practice "animal cruelty."