South Florida’s methods when it comes to dealing with the iguana infestation that’s been plaguing the region has sparked some debate, with people, companies, and sites like exterminatorsnow.com talking about steps taken. In particular, animal rights group PETA has been a particularly active critic, but their inquiries into the matter are proving costly.
The animal rights group has been inquiring the state of Florida about the rules set in place to govern the killing of invasive pythons and iguanas, which resulted in them getting hit with a $74,800 estimate for the month of November 2019 alone, thanks to a public records request related to extermination methods.
Debate over the best ways to humanely dispatch iguanas have been the topic of discussion since past summer, following Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encouraged homeowners across the state to kill green iguanas they find on their own properties when they can, but didn’t really provide any details about how they’d go about to doing that.
PETA has concerns about humane python kills since 2013, following the state openly organizing contests to deal with the voracious species, which is known to thrive in the warm, marshy Everglades. Since then, more state programs that pay and incentivize python hunters, and companies in the state openly advertise their iguana-culling abilities, like exterminatorsnow.com advertise their rat-killing abilities.
Florida’s state laws, save for anti-cruelty laws, don’t protect invasive reptile species, although the FWC’s site stated that poisons can’t be used. Experts, meanwhile, stated that iguanas shouldn’t be frozen, drowned, or decapitated (reptilian brains remain active for about a minute following decapitation).
PETA stated that they wanted to know more about the animal kills due to the lack of information, which is why they forwarded an inquiry to find out more.
According to the FWC, estimates that, with PETA’s search terms and a time span of 2016-19, the inquiry would dig up about 377,609, with each reviewed at $17/hour, resulting in an estimated total of $74,810.37.
University of Florida Professor and The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Director Frank LoMonte stated that the estimated value is huge, but it’s a huge request, and the $17/hour rate is actually more reasonable than what’s he’s used to.