PETA alerted to iguana abuse

The incident last week of a woman offering tourists a photo opportunity to pose with a trussed up live green iguana was not the first time authorities were alerted to the mistreatment of an iguana in Hell in West Bay.

Four months earlier, in July, a tourist contacted the United States-based animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, about a similar case involving a boy who was asking tourists if they wanted to have their picture taken with a tied-up iguana in Grand Cayman.

Stephanie Bell, associate director of PETA’s cruelty investigation department, said her organisation alerted Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, known as CARE, on 6 July, as well as the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and sent a photograph the tourist had taken of the boy holding a large green iguana that had its legs tied and bound behind its back. The boy was pictured with a little girl who is posing with the animal.

The Department of Tourism notified the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture about the case. According to an e-mail sent from the Department of Tourism to CARE, the Department of Agriculture’s enforcement officer had earlier been contacted about the case and had spoken to the boy, who has since not been seen with any captive iguanas at the site.

Ms Bell said she was concerned that the episode had been repeated by another individual at the same tourist attraction. “We’re very alarmed,” she said.

“I think members of the public reporting incidents like these are absolutely critical, so local authorities can be made aware and take action,” Ms Bell added.

Last week, the Department of Agriculture delivered a warning to a woman who had been offering tourists in Hell a chance to have their photos taken with a green iguana for $1. That iguana’s legs and mouth were bound by tape and the animal was taped to a piece of wood.

The non-indigenous green iguanas, which are considered pests, have no protection under the Animals Law. However, it is an offence under the law to treat any animal cruelly.

Ms Bell said animals that are considered pests or nuisances should be treated humanely. “Even if a species is not protected, it does not mean that a particular animal is capable of any less suffering or fear,” she said.


  1. These greenies are considered ‘pests’. I have yet to see one crash a car, rob a bank, deposit masses of litter on the floor or run the finances of this country.

  2. PETA should be alerted to my awesome pitbull that I’ve trained to rip these nasty pests to shreds. When PETA has to deal with these invasive PESTS that dig holes in your yard and poop in your pool and burrow under your house then they can judge us until then keep on mashing them into the WBR!

  3. Well done BurningFish, you’re really helping out the image of the pitbull breed.

    These horrific things the greenies are accused of, they are an inconvenience against humans, that is all. The only real issue here is that the out-compete the blues for habitat. The fact they defecate in a pool is really not something I worry about.

  4. In reading the comments to this thread the abuse of the iguanas was not surprising and most likely the tip of the iceberg. What seems to escape most people is that as a tourist destination this negative publicity from a world recognized organization as well as the negativity from the turtle conservacy does not help Cayman, in fact it is horribly negative.

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