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Three men in Florida were charged with multiple felonies after harvesting, selling, and buying around a ton of freshwater turtles. The commercial harvesting of freshwater turtles is illegal in Florida, due to the over harvesting in other parts of the world for food. The law was put in place not only to protect the species, but to allow Americans to experience wild turtles in their natural habitat. If you are at home currently sweating as you look at your reptile tank, don’t worry, YOU can still collect and keep turtles.
It may seem odd, or even hypocritical to allow recreational harvesting when people are going to jail for commercial use, but that’s Florida for you. Granted three men taking over two thousand pounds worth of turtle will undoubtedly affect the wildlife far greater than a family looking for a pet, but why not protect the species altogether? The report doesn’t really delve into the act of recreational harvesting so I don’t know the details. What I do know is that I think it’s cruel to remove a turtle from its home.
Turtles are a different breed from the domesticated pets of the world. Just because they don’t put up as much of a fight as the other wild animals of the area doesn’t mean it’s cool to just take them home. They have better access to food outside, more water, and they don’t have to chill in a cage. Maybe I’m empathizing too much with a wild turtle here, but I’m just not cool with recreational harvesting being okay.
If your turtle was born into domestication I have no qualms. It’s the life they know, and putting them back in the wild will kill them quick. Taking a wild animal and forcing it to a life in a cage is a pretty sad reality though when you think about it. You’re living your life, following your dreams and going about your day, when boom you’re in a prison. Sure you get food and fun occasionally, but ultimately it’s not the life you wanted. I think I’m about to raid a turtle farm. BRB guys.