Canadian university plans to kill 7 Cayman turtles

| 04/03/2011

(Vancouver Sun): Endangered green sea turtles that have been part of a University of BC research project for more than 10 years will be killed sometime this spring. Bill Milsom, head of UBC’s zoology department, said seven turtles from Cayman will be killed in order to complete a study into turtle diving depths. The turtles are at least 10 years old and can live to be 30. The study was designed to measure the impacts of climate change on the animals and to help countries develop policies around fishing. Milsom said it would be impossible to free the turtles, which were born in captivity and brought to Canada from the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm in 1997 and 2003.

A spokesman for an animal rights group said it makes no sense to kill an endangered species and questions why the turtles can’t be spared to "live out their final days in peace."
"At a time when there are all sorts of efforts to save these animals, and they’re being hit by oil spills and beach development, UBC is killing them," said Brian Vincent, from the group called Stop UBC Animal Research.

Vincent said his group was told first about UBC’s plan to have the turtles killed by someone at the university, who believed the decision was prompted by the pending demolition of the building where they are housed in a tank measuring 10 metres by three metres.

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  1. BORN on the REEF!!! says:

    ok Calm down ppL its only small turtles not some huge Stew BO BO but u know wha i na understand bo, click on the article and read it THE Vancouver Sun news Parer doesnt even mention Nothing about CAYMAN or That these Turtles were originally from the Cayman Islands, hmmm i wonder why?? they simply take us for a joke trust me bo-oh, take what is for us from our land and do wha they want, not even to send them back to Cayman eh?? make us take one of they GRIZZLY bears and experiment we might alll be in jail. #$%$ yall damn expats, itnahh take a kmanian ten yeaRS to complete tha studeh!!!!!! eehhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got a few questions that really need some answering…

    To everyone who is interested in saving the turtles lives, preventing animal experiments, banning them from being used as food under any circumstances, wish to shut down the Turtle Farm etc.

    1)are you willing to to put out a significant amount of money to fund the DOE so they can employ enough staff, in enough boats 24/7 to catch all the poachers we will have with a 100% ban? or and are you willing to fund the extension at the prison we will need to hold offenders, not just for turtles, but whelk, conch, lobster, grouper etc?

    2) Are you, yourself willing to go out there unarmed and chase poarchers after last months story about the nut case that tried to harm the unarmed DOE officers? And who patrols international waters? Which jail do they end up in?

    3) Are you willing to pay for their jail time, as some of these poachers are addicts without a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of, therefore have noting to lose or that Govt could take away to offset the cost of their jail time. Some female turtles are stolen right off the beach while laying their eggs by these addicts. No boat required!

    4) Do you financially support or volunteer for DOE, National Trust etc in thier efforts to educate in the schools and the general public at large? Do you get out there and push their fundraising events, place their educational materials in your offices, volunteer to educate the younger generation through their programs? Or do you leave that for their overworked and underpaid employees to do and only keep your reception areas for boring office brochures or fashion magazines?

    I’m asking not because I doubt the worthyness of the cause but because it is easy to say what Govt, DOE, National Trust should do, as long as the rules we want, don’t cramp our style or our pockets!

    How many other countries out their even have a breed and release program at all? Is Cayman the only country that will admit to eating turtle?

    Like someone pointed out, what were the experients? Are we even able to release them, put them back in the general population at the Farm etc.? Why do the Canadians want to kill them. Where is the answer to that question?

    Just interested in hearing if you have some answers to these questions and solutions to these matters.

    Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    OK, so fly them back and eat them already. Good grief…

  4. Libertarian says:

    ***** Reading these silly comments posted here, I just don’t see the humor in killing these animals for experimentation and not for food! I can’t laugh when my national treasure is being made as an object of entertainment! I guess I am a soft man with no government’ indifference in my blood. I think this is completely inhumane and infuriating in that they are about to kill an endangered species! I think it is another sign that those in authority are more and more disregarding our environment and marine life before a Conservation Law is implemented! I would like to see (maybe CNS can make an FOI request), those local names who were behind having these turtles sent away for study. The public should know such business deals.***** M.R.

    CNS: You can also make an FOI request. It’s not just for the media.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Stop man! unna making me hungreh!



  6. Anonymous says:

    This story made the front page of the Huffington Post.

  7. Anonymous says:

    WHY aren’t Govt, the Turtle Farm and the DOE not becoming vocal about this and making the University fly them back to Cayman at theircost to be returned to the turle farm for recuperation from their ordeal before being released.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah! Get ’em back here. We can use some extra meat – mmmmm… I’m hungry.
      Seriously… we ship them off to Canada – expecting WHAT???
      If we keep them here – we kill them and eat them.
      OK… a FEW we let go to appease our collective conscious.
      Honestly – we breed them for slaughter. The problem lies closer to home! Just sayin’….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s start a fund to pay for their extradition to their homeland. We will at least get a good feast of turtle stew out of the deal. Otherwise, I will mourn the loss of a good meal of our national dish! My God this is a feast waiting to happen! Don’t waste – taste!

  9. Swine says:

    I hope they at least eat them, would be a shame to have some good ole turtle go to waste!!

  10. Mr. W says:

    I’m not for the experimentation and the killing of turtles by any means, but until the handful of Caymanians that continue to butcher Turtles for stew & steaks stop that ‘tradition’ – they have no reason to complain about the poor treatment of Turtles. They should shut their yaps and quit throwing stones in their glass Caymanian Cottages.

    As for Caymanians (and anyone in general) that DOESN’T eat turtle meat, then you have every right to complain & voice your dis-pleasure.



    • bracer says:

      Mr. W,

      Killing an animal to provide food for human consumption and killing an animal after it has been used for experiments are two very different issues!!!

      I am a Caymanian who choses not to eat turtle meat, but will not condemn those who choose to eat it.

      Would it be better if we all just eat processed burgers??

      How about contributing a comment that actually makes some sense and has use in the discussion!


      • Mr. W says:

        Sorry Brac’er…you’re off base on this one.

        No, of course you don’t NEED to eat processed burgers. But last I checked, Green Sea Turtles were a very endangered species. Cows (where the burgers come from!) aren’t.

        Eat whatever you want – so long as it’s not endangered!

        Eating turtles – no matter how much ‘tradition’ may be involved – is just wrong period. Whether they are being killed for food, testing, sport etc. etc. – it’s all wrong because they are a very threatened species.

        Maybe a few hundred years ago, my ancestors used to eat spotted owls, or Siberian tigers, or three-toed sloths… it doesn’t make it right TODAY.

        The fact is that back in the ‘good old days’, consuming Turtle was primarily done simply to survive in Cayman. Today – it’s not. It’s not needed. Just head to Kirk’s or Fosters, bait a hook and cast a line into the ocean, go bag an iguana and BBQ it up…whatever. So long as the animal you’re eating is not an endangered species – grab a fork.

        BUT…Turtles ARE endangered, and shouldn’t be killed for ANY reason. Justifying killing Turtles for some ‘traditional stew’-  and then at the same time being outraged about them being killed for science, is nothing more than a big, fat double-standard.



        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry Mr. W…you’re off base.

          The turtles killed in Cayman for meat are born and raised in captivity therefore nobody is taking an endangered species from the wild. The fact that Green Sea Turtles are endangered in the WILD has nothing to do with turtles being slaughtered whern they have been born and raised in captivity their whole lives. That’s why its called a farm.

          • Anonymous says:

             In that case, you can hardly object to UBC’s slaughtering these animals, since they were also born in captivity.  I believe the reason for the public outcry, however, is that the animals are endangered, not that they were born on a farm.

            I don’t object to Caymanians (or anyone) eating turtle meat in theory, but as green sea turtles are endangered, it seems that, farm or no farm, it might be more ethical to leave them be until such time as stocks are replenished. 

          • The Real Caymanian at Heart says:

            One can easily justify eating turtle since it is farmed it seems, but the reality is that because of the farm it is very easy for poachers to hide their product.  Without catching the poachers red handed or without out DNA testing it’s impossible to prove the illegal caught meat from the farmed variety.  Course anybody can tell really, but legally to hold up in court the DoE needs proof to prosecute poachers.  Without the farm it would be easier to catch poachers… A LOT easier.  There’s some food for thought.

            If it’s about culture..Why doesn’t Cayman put more into the ship building and the other founding industries which didn’t have a negative impact on the environment?  Many of the old Caymanian traditions are near lost.  Who even knows how to thatch, build a cat boat or build with wattle & daub anymore?  I am a foreigner and I love learning about the rich history of this island, the children do too.    

            The time has come for a change…turn the farm into a true release program which would REALLY be a tourist attraction and start to phase out this national dish.  We are literally wasting MILLIONS on something so stupid, when in fact the operation could become a profit and be part of something greater on the whole.  Eco-tourism is proven, I can’t understand why Cayman can’t comprehend these fundamentals.  

            The voting public really needs to start asking questions about the farm: it’s yearly budget, the employees salaries/job descriptions and it’s cash flows…the are much better things to spend on than a dish people.  Invest in your education and environment instead of your waistline.  


          • Gringo says:

            I’m sorry, but that is rubbish.

            Mr. W is spot on. The Turtles raised at the farm are to be released into the wild, as well as being used for meat. The less that are used for meat, the more that can be released into the wild. Do the math.

            Endangered & threatened species should not be eaten/killed/harmed by anyone, no matter how much tradition is involved – ESPECIALLY if those same people are going to complain about improper treatment of the same animal in other regards.

            Pot, meet kettle.

    • Anonymous says:

      To Mr. W.,

      I AM a Caymanian going back many generations, I DO NOT eat turtle BUT I do believe that our Caymanians should retain the ability to eat our national dish….just Not so frequently.

      In Cayman of the past, beef was the once-a-year treat, called Christmas Beef. I believe that Turtle should now be treated the same way, as a once a year treat for Caymanians only – only because we can not feed the world once a year and becase it is Cayman that has the captive breading and release program along with the farm. With that, it might be a win-win situation, rather then a win-lose situtation or worse.

      I’m well aware our marine life in its living state (not dead state) is what put Cayman on the map, via the dive industry and we should not be killing off the the “goose that laid the golden egg”. We should contine to protect our marine life and encourage sustainable use not tossing insults to our islands past.

      Please stop bashing our heritage. Everyone’s heritage has challenges the world over.

      We seem to forget that when you have outright ban, poachers thrive, while others do things out of spite and pure meaness. Working with both sides of the equation is very necessary.

      I do hope that the turtles could be returned to Cayman but we need to know more about what kind of experients were preformed. Depending on what those experiments were they may not be fit to be returned to the breeding population or the food line. Let’s ask smart questions.

  11. Anonymous says:

    killing anything these days unless they are sick and unable to sustain a healthy living on there own…….I am against that!  To me that is a inhumane action and a disgrace to society in ANY COUNTRY!!!!!

  12. Turtle's Head says:

    Well this is a fun one!

    It should cause outrage.

    But since it appears to part of the local "culture" to feed on these endangered animals, there would need to be a good reason why these deaths are wrong but a bit of government subsidised turtle stew is OK.

    Now there is no difference.

    Both are wrong.  Very very wrong.

    My conscience is clear.  How’s yours?

    • Anonymous says:

      just worry about your own 

    • Anonymous says:

      Anybody on Planet Earth that condemns killing to eat has to be the highest form of idiot. Do you know that a cow has to be killed before you can buy that whopper at Burger King? And a chicken has to be killed before you can savor that good ole KFC? And (before you swear you are vegetarian) that a potato has to be killed before you can eat the fries that go with them? The second highest form of idiot has to be the one who insists on slaughtering innocent animals in the name of ‘research’. How do these itiots arrive at seven turtles and not one. Are the other six turtles going to each ‘reveal’ different ‘information’ than the first one. Can’t they simply get this ‘information’ from the very fish they catch everyday to eat?

  13. Anonymous says:

     I wish that people from Cayman would research companies, people, etc before doing business with them.  When I say people, I mean government officials, etc. I don’t even take medication from my doctor without researching it on the internet.  Are we so naive that we believe everything that people tell us?  

    I have a few questions:

    1. Who authorized our turtles to be sent to this place?

    2. Did they research this place?

    3. Did they ask or were they told what our turtles would be used for?

    4. What was the final plan? they would keep the turtles till they die?  naturally or did they know that then they would be put to sleep?

    I find this very disturbing.  I don’t like turtle meat myself but I would rather it was sold for food than for experiments.


  14. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of good turtle meat!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow, great story CNS and way to shock us with the headline. What a waste of time.

    • Anonymous says:

       I agree with you, you don’t hear anyone complaining when the US, Canada, Russia, Chinese, I could go on forever experiments on Rats from Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, again could go on and on.

      If you are an animal activist, you have the right to complain about all animal experimentation, if not then be quiet. 

      I am a born Caymanian and this story was only published for all of you fighting back and forth about Caymanians and Foreigners to increase a brawl while the other less minded individuals encourage the negativity. I hate to admit it but Mac was right, some media should not be allowed as it does nothing but encourage negativity. Yes we have the right to know, but why is it that we don’t hear similar stories? Cause they won’t start a diminishing fight between Caymanians and the world. Remember people, we are all 1 in mind or we will surly perish at each others hands. PEACE.

  16. sooth sayer says:

    what? No comments? Save Cayman? hah! No one gives a s***.


  17. UDP Supporter says:

    This is typical behaviour from foreigners – take something from Cayman and its good, Christian people and give nothing back. It makes me sick.

    • already home says:

      Dont’t let the door hit you on the ass as you join the rest in the exodus!

  18. SO SAD says:

    And I guess our all-about-money’ government is allowing this to happened? Selling away our turtles not to eat but to be experimented upon! That is just disgraceful! I would like to see the politician or official who sign the papers to have these creatures transported in exile? This is just a shame! Cayman we need to do better when in comes to protecting our people and marine life! Again, some experiment is about to take place without the public’s knowledge!

  19. Anonymous says:

    and how many turtles will be killed in cayman this week just to be put in turtle stew???????

    • Anonymous says:

      fri 15:50: Silly person! The turtles here will be killed for Caymanians to eat and not by nasty furriners for research. So that’s all right then, isn’t it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Better question would be "How many turtles will be illegallytaken this week?"

    • anonymous says:

      Do we have anything to say when you kill and sell people your mad cow and chicken with bird flu? Try hush.