(May 30, 2007)

A dark, monolithic amphibean that floats through the muddy waters of the bayou is known as an alligator.

To the local economy, it’s also a cash cow.

State Sen. Reggie Dupre of Houma recently said that the Louisiana State Senate’s Natural Resources Committee’s proposal of a bill outlawing swamp cruise operators’ common practice of giving food to wild alligators while conducting swamp tours was “on life support.”

Perhaps it’s time to consider pulling the plug on the proposal alltogether.

The bill, recommended by biologists at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, prohibits the intentional feeding of wild alligators. This is meant to be a precautionary measure that will keep tourists safe from potential attack.

Such legislation is unnecessary. Swamp tours are conducted by licensed professionals who are well-trained on behavior of alligators.

Furthermore, the proposal would also make tours marketable. Feeding the alligators is often considered the most exciting part of each trip.

Swamp tours draw many tourists to southern Louisiana. These tourists spend money for an exotic boatride that can’t be experienced in most parts of the nation. Their money, in turn, helps support the local economy, which has been struggling to recover from devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

Why mess up an equation that makes sense?

Dupre said the bill “gets less and less support every time.”

Let’s pray he’s right.