In an attempt to mitigate the growing environmental nuisance caused by iguana overpopulation, Puerto Rico is offering incentives to businesses that will open slaughterhouses that will export iguana meat to eager customers in other countries.
Iguanas, which were introduced to Puerto Rico in the 1970s as pets, are proliferating out of control, causing serious damage to the country’s environment and infrastructure. Simply hunting them hasn’t worked to curb the population growth, so now officials are looking for entrepreneurs who are interested in opening slaughterhouses that will export iguana meat and oil to other countries. So far only one businessman has taken them up on their offer, opening a facility where captured iguanas enjoy a diet of fruit before their inevitable demise and departure.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Iguana consumption is extremely popular in Central America and Asia, to the point where the animals have become endangered species requiring government protection in certain cases. Of course, animal rights activists are upset, but for Puerto Rican officials and businesses targeting this customer base, it’s a win-win and a no-brainer. Apparently, in addition to being delicious, iguana meat is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. One interested California-based importer of exotic foods says, “Sex is my main selling point. Everybody likes sex, right? So please eat my iguanas.”