“Animal rights activists aren’t happy with the plan for ridding Boca Grande of pesky iguana.” This is how an article in yesterday’s Fort Myers News-Press began. The article provided an update on Lee County’s plans to kill iguanas on Gasparilla Island, and mentioned ARFF’s objections to putting iguanas into a freezer to die, “The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida feels freezing them is inhumane and has asked Boca Grande officials to work with them to develop ‘a humane plan for euthanizing captured animals.’”
On November 16, Lee County awarded a contract to George Cera to catch and kill hundreds, perhaps thousands of black spiny-tailed iguanas on Gasparilla Island. Mr. Cera, doing business as The Trapper Wildlife Services, will be paid $20 per lizard. (Mr. Cera will be working on the Lee County side of the island; Charlotte County is considering a similar eradication program.)
Although Mr. Cera has not said how he will kill the iguanas that he catches, in his proposal he did include freezing as a method he may use. The American Veterinary Medical Association has determined that freezing as a method of euthanasia is not humane. The AVMA has reported, “Immobilization of reptiles by cooling is considered inappropriate and inhumane, even if combined with other physical or chemical methods of euthanasia. . . . This method is not recommended. Formation of ice crystals on the skin and in tissues of an animal may cause pain or distress.” In the past, Lee County Animal Services has killed iguanas humanely by an injection of sodium pentobarbitol.
Lee County is determined to go ahead with its iguana eradication program. At the very least, these innocent reptiles deserve a humane death.
Please write to the Lee County Commission and urge them to prohibit George Cera/Trapper Wildlife Services from killing iguanas by freezing.
Commissioner Bob Janes
Commissioner Brian Bigelow
Commissioner Ray Judah
Commissioner Tammy Hall
Commissioner Frank Mann
Contact your elected officials. In the upcoming 2007 Legislative Session, ARFF will be working to restrict the sale and possession of iguanas and other exotic reptiles. Please contact your state representative and senator and ask them to support efforts to discourage the exotic pet trade in Florida.