May 17th, 2007 by admin
That was the headline of a very encouraging story in Tuesday’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper about the demise of the cruel spectacle of alligator wrestling. After decades as a roadside attraction in Florida, why is alligator wrestling dying? The article mentions fierce competition in Florida for the tourist dollar, and Native American tribes switching to more lucrative methods of attracting tourists. The article also recognizes the impact of “animal-rights activists and stricter regulations.”
Of course, alligator wrestling is not dead yet. The article featured two roadside zoos in Broward County where alligator wrestling can still be witnessed: Everglades Holiday Park, in Hollywood, and Native Village, in Fort Lauderdale. (Surprisingly, James Peacock, manager at Native Village, admitted in the article that “Alligator wrestling does stress the animal.” Unfortunately, he has not been convinced to end the show.)
Alligator wrestling shows begin when an alligator is dragged by the tail into the center of a ring. A wrestler often jumps onto the alligator’s back, putting pressure with both hands on the animal’s neck, forcing his or her head down. Wrestlers may hit the animal on the nose until the animal opens their mouth (to show the alligator’s teeth to the crowd). Other wrestlers force the mouth closed with one hand, and attempt to flip the animal. This can cut off circulation to the brain. Shows often end with the overturned alligator losing consciousness.
You Can Help
Don’t support tourist attractions that feature alligator wrestling. Ask friends and family members visiting Florida to do the same. Write to the following attractions and urge them to discontinue alligator wrestling. Tell them that there is nothing educational about the harassment and abuse of wildlife.