Turtle farm position at odds with premier, say activists

| 15/11/2012

1012822 (285x300).jpg(CNS): The international animal rights group which is campaigning to turn the Cayman Turtle Farm into a conservation attraction has said that the farm management appears to be at odds with the Cayman premier’s position that he was taking the evidence presented about the farm seriously. In a letter sent to the director Tim Adam earlier this month, Dr Neil D'Cruze from the World Society for the Protection of Animals said that the charity was surprised, given the premier’s admission that both he and the farm were taking the evidence of WSPA seriously, that the farm had denied the findings and had continued to ignore the charities concerns and offers of assistance.

In a bid to keep lines of communication open with the CTF, as the campaign to stop the farming of the turtles and develop a world class conservation facility grows, WSPA has again offered to help. The charity admits that it believes there is there is no humane way to commercially produce green sea turtles, and as a result, it says it is seeking the swiftest and most effective way to address the welfare concerns raised in its research through collaboration with the CTF.

“We have gone to great lengths over the last year to gather the required evidence, speak with all of the relevant stakeholders and provide the time required for them to thoroughly consider our proposed collaboration on this issue. As you will know, we have repeatedly said that our strong preference is for resolving the situation co-operatively. I would like to repeat that preferred choice to you today,” D’Cruze writes.

“It is disappointing that that the CTF and Caymanian Government have isolated themselves by refusing to accept that our welfare concerns are genuine and based upon tangible evidence. However, as always, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to determine how we can work together. Indeed as you will be aware, the UK Government are now urging us to work together to reach positive solutions, but we cannot do this unless you enter into dialogue with us.”

In the letter dated 2 November, D'Cruze also asks the farm’s director for more details on the independent review that he has publicly stated the farm will be undertaking sometime next month in response to the damning findings of WSPA. He also asked if the farm would permit the WSPA to participate and share its experience during the review.

“WSPA understands that the CTF is of great importance to the Cayman Islands and many people want to make it a success,” the charity stated. “WSPA believes that the farm can change for the better — it can become a humane and sustainable operation that meets its conservation aims; is safe for visitors; more economically viable; and a genuine source of pride for the Cayman Islands.”

More than 87,000 people from at least 150 different countries have signed the on-line petition and several other international non-governmental organizations and charities have offered their support to the campaign. WSPA said that there was a strengthening tide of public, academic, and political opinion against the CTF as a consequence of what it uncovered and asked the Farm director to work with them to transition the farm into a conservation facility.

In a damning report last month the WSPA went public with its findings in both the local and international media, which caused a barrage of bad publicity for the Cayman Turtle Farm. The researchers from the internationally respected organization documented a catalogue of problems, from diseases, congenital defects, cannibalism, inhumane treatment and overcrowding.

Since then, the farm has categorically denied the accusations and claim conservation credentials as a result of the research done there. It stated that no complaints have ever been made about inhumane treatment, even though three hundred turtles were left to die in the sun a few weeks ago when a sea pipe leak drained one the holding tanks.

The Turtle Farm absorbs a subsidy from the public purse of as much as $10 million annually since it was redeveloped in 2005. The premier has persistently claimed that the failure of the newer facility is because there should have been a pier in West Bay to bring cruise passengers directly to the farm.

Related article on CNS:

Report slams Turtle Farm

See full WSPA letter to CTF below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear WSPA,

    I am very concerned about the suffering and neglect that WSPA discovered at the Cayman Turtle Farm, and its effects on the animals’ welfare. I am aware you were presented with WSPA’s findings in October, alongside an offer of support in developing your facility to focus on

    I am also Caymanain, respecting you for supporting the WSPA but my country lives on many banking and tourism. i believe there is way around this fight. We are the only Turtle Farm in the world. Your company is made to help not to fight. Why don't you help us. Them the turtles and preserver what left of my culture

    My country is not independent and its hard if the turtle farm is closed on us. What should my country support on. My school would be effected by your cause and not in a good way. My people can be hard head but not all of us are the same. We are willing to try and improve it.

    I am a student. Group of student and I are willing to keep whats left of our culture. I maybe one but i will try and keep what's here on my island.

    I am a Caymanian and This is my culture

    Yours sincerely,

    A supporter of the World Society for the Protection of Animals

    • Anonymous says:

      Beckford they have offered to help.  They've asked us to stop farming the turtles for meat and instead they have asked us and offered to assist us in making this into a world class conservation facility for turtles.  Furthermore the turtle farm does nothing to support Caymanians or the Cayman Islands, instead it drains the country's taxpayers to the tune of $10 million a year and charges Caymanians the unbelievably high price of approx $25 per pound of turtle meat.

      They are trying to help and preserve the turtle.  They just won't support the current cruelty to turtles and have offered to help us do this properly.

  2. Kadafe says:

    Then come talk to us. Lol

  3. Anonymous says:

    Have some pride for your history and culture. Go to the turtle farm and support it. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    WSPA is not trying to help ,they are dictating to us .We did not invite them to come in and turn the Turtle Farm into a conservation only facility which is their only intention.They have chosen to dictate to us what we can eat and cannot eat. I have one suggestion for them ;Turn the population of the world into vegetarians ,then come talk us.Stop the farming of all animals for human consumption then come talk to us.Why not stop the farming of chickens ,cattle,sheep goats,turkeys etc then come talk to us.If they do this then perhaps they will gain some credibility.Otherwise they are just a bunch of hypocritical people out to force their views on Caymanians and not not the least bit interested in the conservation or preservation of animals.

    • Animaliberator says:

      That is one great suggestion I would like to see come true. Are you leading by example then and are you now a vegetarian and spreading the word? Otherwise your comment makes no sense in the slightest bit and have absolutely no idea what the WSPA (and many other organizations like them) stand for.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what does the WSAP stand for? Why is there more concerned about the welfare of an animal than a human and this makes sense? There are people dying of hunger all around the world.

        • Animaliberator says:

          Oh Lord, you just don't get it do you? This is not a concern of more or less welfare between the species of any kind. All species need a certain amount of concern, regardless as humans are the # 1 killer of all species around the globe, period. And yes, there are people starving around the globe but that is hardly an excuse to treat animals in a dispicable way. By the way, who's fault you think it is that there are starving people in this world. Hint: It's not the animals.

          • Anonymous says:

            So you want the Millions of dollars that the WSPA has, to be used to improve living conditions for animals… the resources that could be used to help humans instead… and you're telling me I don't get!  I hope I never do… 

          • Anonymous says:

            I hope I never do get it…human life is more important! Show people love and care you can change the world.

  5. A Struggling Merchant says:


    The government has never offered me millions of dollars to help my business, so why waste the people's money to run the turtle farm?  If it can't stand on its own legs, SHUT IT DOWN!

  6. Animaliberator says:

    Anyone with the slightest bit of common sense would welcome the WSPA with open arms as they can put together a group of real experts on the subject and get this mess sorted out at the earliest possible convenience to all parties concerned, the turtles in particular.


    Just look at who is running the place, all very nice people for sure but with little or no true knowledge about what they need to know to run the CTF as a humane facility, hence the reason to bring in an independant group of people to prove their point that supposedly nothing is wrong. The question is why would anyone go through this expense if you know what you are doing? Thus, do they? I fear not!


    The CTF must understand that the WSPA is not doing this to make name and fame for themselves, they already have that for a very long time on a global level so, here is the plan:


    1. Remove head out of sand (or water).

    2. Invite the WSPA at the earliest possible time.

    3. Start talking and discuss options for the future of the CTF.

    4. Upon agreement, present champagne (for humans only).

    5. Support CTF by employing the right people for the job.

    6. Be happy to be part of this endeavour for the true benefit of the turtles.

    7. Make a real effort to become a vegetarian.


    How hard can this all be?

    • Anonymous says:

      So why isn't the grobally renown WSPA not going after the Turtle Farms in United States. (Mississippi & Louisiana) or other types of farms. Why now after 44 years of operating?

      • Anonymous says:

        There are no sea turtle farms in Louisiana or Mississippi or the US as a whole. Sea turtles nest all  around the US coast and substantial efforts are made to protect them. Cayman is all alone with its useless and nasty turtle "farm."

  7. Anonymous says:

    So the Turtle Farm skims $10million a year out of the economy simply because nobody built a pier in West Bay that would have cost $100K-150K?

    Yeah and I just watched a squadron of pink elephants fly over Rackams.

  8. Anonymous says:

    boycott the turtle farm!