Short film released about turtle farm controversy

| 10/01/2013

turtle feeding.jpg(CNS): A short film has been released by the UK based environmental affairs magazine The Ecologist highlighting the controversies surrounding the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. The short feature comes in the wake of an independent review of the farm commissioned by the farm’s management following the publication of findings by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) that indicated things at the facility were less than ideal. The review has not yet been published. Animal rights and conservation activists have launched an international campaign to persuade the local authorities to turn the Farm into a real conservation facility and put an end to the farming of sea turtles.

Alongside the film and the campaign by the WSPA, whose own damning report alleged overcrowding, disease, injury, poor husbandry conditions and a catalogue of other problems, some UK MPs have also filed a motion in the British parliament with the backing of some 65 members from across the political spectrum, calling for action on the WSPA findings.

The film published on Thursday by The Ecologist, which was founded in the 1970s and is the oldest conservation and environment related publications in the UK, examines the WSPA findings and talks to the local department of environment and the farm’s director.

The Cayman Turtle Farm, which costs local tax payers some $10 million in subsidies every year, is the last of its kind in the world and is now undergoing international pressure to change its model.  Undercover footage shot by the WSPA, which is featured in the film shows some of the issues at the heart of the campaign. As well as the welfare concerns the film highlights the risks to human health, financial costs and the alleged failures in its conservation mandate.

Since the WSPA first turned its attention on the Farm, officials there have persistently denied the allegations of cruelty. The farm has defended the conditions, its history and its research and conservation programme, stating the farm is a facility the Cayman Islands 'can be proud of'. It has also accused activists of attempting to undermine the farms revenue base whilst at the same time stating they want to work with the farm.

A review was carried out at the Farm in December and officials said that results of that review were expected this month but it is not clear when it will be released to the public.
The film includes comments from the farm’s MD Tim Adam, Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the environment department’s director as well as local marine personality Guy Harvey and local restaurant owner Isley Ebanks among others.

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  1. navnit says:

    Action is required immediatly not words.this cruel farming for entertaining and human lust for flesh should be stopped for good ,why dont the worl wildlife organisations get together and buy the farm out and release the turtles  instead of trying to make world headlines and years of waiting and lettiig the turtles suffer in stink and death farm .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets transform iy into a Pig farm and blood pudding for everyone!

  3. Green Hornet says:

    It's all very well trying to shut down the turtle farm, but this will only increase the pressure on wild turtles. Believe me, if this happens the rate of turtle poaching will go through the ceiling. And nobody wins, least of all the turtles.

    Far better to clean up the turtle farm and avoid the problems it has been facing. Nobody says this is a perfect solution, but it will for sure avoid the kind of consequences that will happen if the farm is shut down.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have been to the Turtle Farm numerous times since moving to the island in 2000; every time I have friends or family visiting me on island I always recommend they go to Botswain's Beach and the Turtle farm because I think it is worth a visit and gives some insight into Cayman's history. However, I have also witnessed first hand many of the conditions that are described in the video – absolutely filthy water, hugely overcrowded tanks, turtles and other animals with open sores and wounds; I even took my little sister once and while visiting the hatchling area we saw 10+ dead baby turtles just being crawled over by the live ones. Quite sad.

    I think that the Turtle Farm is a good idea and can be successfully used to promote awareness and be used as an effective learning tool, but many changes need to be made and the conditions the animals in captivity need to be bettered. I believe in the programme, but I believe in the welfare of animals first. I will support the Turtle Farm, but my loyalties lie with the animals held there first and foremost.

  5. The Spin cycle says:

    I used to think Branson was an alright sort of person.  Rich, self-made type.  That's possible, but after hearing his comments about the turtle farm:  "I've never actually been there" and his ridiculous comment I'm beginning to wonder.  He was on island!  Didn't visit the place. And listened to some hype from the administration.  And then decides he's qualified to comment on the conditions. He's supposed to be an astute business person but sounded like an idiot.

  6. Animaliberator says:

    What could be so terribly wrong with sitting around the table with selected individuals/organizations to discuss what is right and what is wrong and approach this like adults, instead of like a bunch of adult children who can't get their candy.


    The CTF's approach is so childish, likely because they are afraid of the outcome of this forced, hopefully not biased "independent" investigation soon to be released. If they were not afraid, why have the investigation in the first place?


    The British WSPA are involved in this case because……yep, no joke, we are a British territory so no suprise now is there? This is exactly why the WSPA has offices in so many countries to prevent outside intervention as much as possible. Like it or not but it does makes a lot of sense doesn't it?


    I shall look forward to the result of the investigation.

  7. Anonymous says:

    325 views…not exactly viral, but it was balanced.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is more than some "BRITS" stirring up trouble for the Cayman Islands.  This is an emergency on a GRAND SCALE.  Eyes are on Cayman for so many attrocities right now and now animal abuse is topping the list to boot.  What is wrong with you people?  Dig your heads out of the sand and start looking to see what people are saying about YOUR country. 

    • Anonymous says:

      As a Brit, I can assure you that animal abuse is not topping the list right now.  The islands' role in facilitating global tax evasion and fraud is topping the list.

      • Anonymous says:

        That's a shame that as a "Brit" you are not concerned about Animal Cruelty…  but thanks for being honest about it.

      • Whodatis says:

        Ummm … as a "Brit", you may want to start by investigating your own country's role in "global tax evasion and fraud".


  9. Anonymous says:

    If you watch the video it does not take sides, but just presents the controversy that is taking place.  I think it is well done,  neutral journalism. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    We already subsidise this place to the tune of 10 million a year,  so damn right this so-called 'independent' report needs to be released to the public, especially if we paid for that too.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just some Brits trying to stir up trouble for Cayman.

    • Whodatis says:

      Yeah … like what else is new, right?

      Even da' damn turtles can't get no rest fa' dem!


      • Anonymous says:

        I think the turtles probably are more concerned about Caymanians.  When a Brit sees a turtle he sees a beautiful endangered creature.  When a Caymanian sees a turtle he thinks stew.  I am sure the turtles would prefer protection over being dinner.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's always someone else's fault, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually watch the film, there are contributions from CI Residents such as Guy Harvey, Gina Ebanks Petrie, Tim Adam etc. it is actually quite a balanced piece.