Stop the Alligator Hunt!

  • by: Michael Erickson
  • recipient: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) endorses and supports Florida's annual Alligator Hunting Season, which lasts from August 17th through November 1st. The FWC attempts to justify the Hunt by claiming that "There is a healthy alligator population in Florida and one that can sustain a hunt." And while it is a fact that the alligator population in Florida is estimated to be one million strong, the truth is that there is no justification for animal cruelty.

Hunters go out into the swamp at night, using searchlights mounted on their hats to scan the water for the distinctive, reflective eye-shine of the ancient reptiles. When an individual alligator is singled out, it is "snagged" with a vicious three-pronged hook used with a fishing rod, harpooned (the most popular method), or even shot with a bow.

After being hooked, shot or harpooned, what can be a 400-pound, 10-foot-long alligator is fought to exhaustion. Once it becomes too tired and weak to fight any longer, the alligator is drawn to the side of the boat, its head is forced under the surface of the water, and a type of firearm called a bangstick is used to shoot in the head. The mouth is then taped, and the alligator is dragged into the boat. Although regulations state that the alligator must be dead before being dragged into the boat, improper placement and discharge of the bangstick frequently renders the alligator only temporarily unconscious. Officials seem to know this, as hunters are instructed by the FWC to finish off the alligator by deeply slicing into its throat until the spinal cord is severed. This usually (but not necessarily always) works, and the unlucky reptile's prolonged suffering is finally brought to an end. Tony Young, the FWC's hunting expert, says "Believe it or not, hunters are concerned with humanely killing their game". This statement is thoroughly shocking, as there is nothing humane about any part of the FWC-approved killing process - it is absolutely inhumane and totally barbaric, inside and out.

As for the final fate of the alligators killed, the meat (particularly that of the tail) is usually eaten, the hides are made into goods such as boots, handbags, and belts, and the heads and limbs are chopped off and sold as curios. Needless to say, absolutely none of this is necessary. As they have admitted themselves, the alligator hunters do it because they enjoy the adrenaline rush that they get from battling and killing such huge and powerful animals - this motovation is very clearly indefensible and morally bankrupt.

There is no excuse. The Alligator Hunt is nothing but a primitive and barbaric bloodsport where live animals are brutally tortured and killed for the amusement of the hunters. It is, essentially, legal animal turtore and slaughter masquerading as 'wildlife management'.

Sign this petition to tell the FWC that you won't stand for it, and to urge them to place a ban on the alligator hunting immediately. Protect the top predator of Florida' wild lands from mankind's cruelty!

(P.S. You can also sign this petition [] to tell the FWC to end the slaughter of snakes.)

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