Florida Governor Rick Scott is not exactly a friend of alligators. He is known to wear cowboy boots made of alligator skin, and last month during a visit to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Tallahassee he said that alligators were his least favorite animal. He added, “Iíve never shot an alligator but Iím receptive to that.”
But yesterday he redeemed himself a little in the eyes of Florida’s official state reptile. Before signing the 2011-12 state budget, Governor Scott vetoed $150,000 that was budgeted for “Alligator Marketing and Education” (view the complete veto list here).
The money was to be used to promote alligator meat, leather and other by-products. In 2010, the budget item paid for a booth at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival where alligator meat samples were distributed to attendees. The money has also helped gator farmers attend trade shows around the world to push alligator meat and leather goods.
We’re happy that Governor Scott recognizes that in a very difficult budget year, marketing the meat and skin of alligators killed in Florida is not a priority for the State of Florida.
The veto is more bad news for an industry that has seen the value of alligator hides dramatically decline, but it’s good news for the many thousands of alligators who are cruelly killed each year on alligator farms and during Florida’s public hunt.
Thanks Governor Scott!