Set up wildlife sanctuaries
The Editor, Sir:
With reference to the article by Sadan Tayad (could that really be somebody's name?) in the Gleaner of Tuesday, January 19, on Page A7, headlined 'Gov't/NEPA's monkey business', I would like to add a few comments.
It seems as if Jamaica needs to 'get with the programme' in terms of showing the world that we are a nation of sensible and progressive people, and we can do what more 'developed' countries are doing, and even better. So, where illegally imported wildlife is concerned, we are capable of responding innovatively and progressively to the problem, and we can develop and maintain our own solution, which is not to simply "kill the creature" and leave it at that.
I am sure we have excellent vets here working with the Vet Division of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and others in authority where this matter is concerned, who can access the resources, perhaps internationally, to set up a wildlife sanctuary/rescue centre where these animals could be housed, instead of being destroyed by lethal injection (euthanised). They could be quarantined at this centre, tested for diseases and treated, with a view to their eventual salvation and a life which they deserve to have, as they came here not by their own design, but by the sinister and illicit design of us human creatures.
The owners of these illegal animals can, more than likely, well afford to sponsor their animals and their testing in the form of the fines and penalties for possessing the animals.
It is also possible that the owners of some illegal exotics can become revenue earners by tagging their exotics and paying a licence fee if they have adequate caging, and have possessed these animals over time, causing a family bond human/animal - then the humane thing to do would be to amnesty the animals and give everyone time to declare, test them and have their domiciles inspected with a view to a more humane method of censure, we could take a leaf out of Florida's book - they have an illegal exotic problem, they did not confiscate and euthanise - they inspected, created laws and fees, and are now far better able to monitor the trade.
With education of the public and a more humane approach, we can better affect, control and deal with the illegal market.
I very much hope that we can get something positive and progressive going out of all this, and that NEPA/Vet Division will clarify their intent regarding the notices mentioned in Sadan Tayad's letter.
I am, etc.,