Tourists seem to enjoy seeing the iguanas and feral chickens running around the streets of Grand Cayman. They can often be seen taking photos of the creatures.
But for residents, wild chickens and iguanas are a nuisance.
Green iguanas in particular can be major pests, capable of devouring garden plants and defecating on decks, in pools, on roofs and elsewhere.
The proliferation of green iguanas on Grand Cayman in recent years has become a growing concern. Not only are these creatures invading the yards of residents, they’re becoming a road hazard as drivers swerve or stop suddenly to avoid running them over.
Changes made to the Animal Law last year give residents the right to capture and kill green iguanas and dispose of them – or even eat them.
However, the Animal Law still prohibits cruelty to animals, even if those animals are to be killed.
There was an incidence on Grand Cayman recently where several iguanas were captured and restrained with duct tape that left them with their legs immobilised – as is actually recommended by the Agricultural Department.
The problem is that two of the duct taped iguanas were left that way for three days and another one slithered into a neighbour’s yard, where it was found almost a week after it was taped.
No living creature should be tortured. If it is the intention of someone to kill an iguana, as is allowed by law, then they should kill it quickly and in a humane way. If it is the intention of someone to restrain an iguana for someone else to take away and deal with, then this needs to happen immediately, or at least by the following day.
To allow an iguana to roast in the hot sun, not able to eat or drink while it awaits death is cruel and sadistic, even if the iguana is an unwelcome pest. We hope that residents who decide they must rid their property of green iguanas will do so in a compassionate way that limits the suffering of the animal to a minimum.