Take the profit out of Florida's alligator hunt
Florida's 2010 alligator hunt begins August 15 and lasts for 11 weeks on lakes and waterways across the state.
The alligator is the only animal in Florida that hunters kill in expectation of a financial reward. The skin and flesh of dead alligator's is often sold to processors who wait at the docks for hunter's boats to return.
The suffering of alligators during Florida’s public hunt is undeniable. Alligators are snagged with barbed hooks, pierced with arrows, stabbed with harpoons, and—after the unlucky alligator is fought to exhaustion—shot with a firearm called a “bangstick.” Regulations state that alligators must be killed before being pulled into a boat, but the improper placement and discharge of the bangstick frequently renders the alligator only temporarily unconscious. Without having the spinal cord severed and the brain destroyed, the alligator is left to suffer long after being pulled from the water. Because of the difficulty of humanely killing an alligator, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises hunters, “Never assume an alligator is dead.” In June 2007, ARFF attended a meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during which an alligator trapper had strong words of criticism for participants in Florida's public alligator hunt. He told of witnessing hunters showing up at processing facilities after the hunt with alligators who were severely injured but still alive. Visit ARFF's website for more information about the brutal hunt.
You can help
This year, as in 2009, there is no market for alligator hides, but a small number of companies are purchasing the "meat" of hunted alligators to process and sell (alligator meat often ends up on restaurant menus as a novelty appetizer).
All American Gator Products, in Hallandale, is the largest processors of "wild" alligators in Florida. During the 2010 hunt, All American Gator will be accepting dead alligators at six locations across the state—including Fort Lauderdale, Lake Okeechobee, Tampa and Kissimmee. The following wholesale food distributors market alligator meat from All American Gator.
1. Please contact these companies and politely request that they stop distributing meat from alligators cruelly killed during Florida's public hunt. Florida's alligator hunt would be less popular (less alligators would be killed) if hunters were unable to sell the skin and flesh of alligators to recoup the cost of the permit, guide and equipment.
• Performance Foodservice - Empire
3595 NW 125 Street
Miami, FL 33167
Online comment form
• Beaver Street Fisheries
P.O. Box 41430
Jacksonville, FL 32203
Online comment form
2. Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in response to articles about Florida's alligator hunt is a great way to encourage compassion for these much-maligned animals. Contact ARFF for tips on writing letters to the editor.