Report confirms CTF woes

| 25/01/2013

PhotoGallery2.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Turtle Farm was the subject of questions for both Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly on her trip to London and Tourism Minister Cline Glidden on his trip to Florida this week, in the wake of an the independent report that confirmed some of the findings of research conducted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Glidden has said that the farm has begun to address some of the problems found in the report, including skin diseases and emaciation. However, according to the premier, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is taking a neutral position on the farm, maintaining that it is a “domestic issue” for CIG to deal with.

In the independent report released Friday morning, the panel concluded that there were “no significant issues of concern regarding the public facing aspect of the operation” but on the production side there was room for improvement in standards of care that required immediate changes in the infrastructure, processes, staffing and resources.

Skin lesions and mortality levels in younger age classes were highlighted by the report and the panel said that the farm should immediately implement additional intensive treatment and management of all animals with lesions based on best available information, euthanasia of animals with poor prognosis, and undertake veterinary pathological investigations of dead animals. The panel of researchers raised concerns that similar recommendations had been made in the past but have not been acted upon.

The researchers stated that there was strong evidence for the positive conservation impact of CTF as it provides meat for Cayman’s national dish while alleviating pressure on the wild population, augmenting the local nesting population with releases and facilitating research and awareness of marine turtle conservation.

The panel recommended that CTF develop a set of short and long-term goals to rectify existing issues and that an independent advisory board be assembled to help support those goals. Given sufficient desire and motivation on behalf of managers and decision makers, the panel said its recommendations were achievable.

Glidden said that the independent report conducted in December had found no significant problems that should concern the cruise lines and he had addressed the issues raised by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association about passenger interaction with the turtles when he met with them last week.

While the turtle farm continues sucking money from the public purse on an annual basis to the tune of almost $10 million, the minister said that carrying out the changes at the farm as recommended by the report would not require additional subsidies from the public purse.

Responding to the report, the CTF said that it was taking the findings seriously but did not indicate why it had not responded in the past, having faced the recommendations before. Managing Director Tim Adam said the board the farm’s management team were committed to taking all possible steps to address the concerns.

“The resulting inspection report notes that the Cayman Turtle Farm makes several important positive contributions to the conservation of and research on green sea turtles, while also stating areas of concern requiring improvement,” he said.

Adam claimed that the report validated the CTF’s provision of a legal source of turtle meat as a way to assist in the prevention of illegal poaching and had found no evidence of congenital deformities among the population.

The CTF has now recruited of a full-time veterinarian, which Adam said would help fulfill several of the recommendations, such as intensifying the lesion treatment procedures. He added that recent experimental pre-clinical trials conducted by Dr Carlos E. Crocker  from St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr Walter Mustin of CTF had led to the development of medication protocols for the treatment of skin lesions
Adam said the Cayman Turtle Farm would do everything in its capabilities to improve the facility, the welfare of the turtles and safety for visitors.

“The Cayman Turtle Farm initiated this inspection and we are pleased that the inspection team noted our courteous, collaborative approach to their requests and questions. We believe that the recommendations of the report will serve to enhance the quality of Cayman Turtle Farm and what we offer,” Adam said.

See report below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Science and Nature

About the Author ()

Comments (31)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. The Spin cycle says:

    Why is it entities such as the Turtle Farm have to wait for a report to show them what they are doing wrong??  Then come out and say they will "follow the recommendations" or make a attempt at it.  How long has the Turtle Farm been in existence?  The answer is a long time. In the meantime, why did no one notice the conditions or at least make an attempt to do anything about it ….before now.  NOW… they decide it might be a good idea to hire a veterinarian to check on the animals.  NOW… they can see where improvements in their conditions must be made.  Why did they need a report to do this? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Prolly the same reason they continue to dump pollutants into the ocean. Lack of evolution.

  2. Whodatis says:

    You folks are funny!!

    By the way, anyone know where I can find some horsemeat mince for the long weekend?

    Thinking of doing a chilli … no turtlestew this year.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are selling it in England at the moment. its a french thing really! i saw some in Quebec two weeks ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Horsemeat is a bit tough, mincing it is definitely the way to go. You'll enjoy it though, it goes well with bull$hit.

    • Stiritup says:

      Yes because the illegal contamination of a tiny amout of hamburgers by a Polish factory is the equivalent to the deliberate consumption of an endangered species.  What a warped world you live in Whodatis.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't deflect this issue Whodatis.  The concerns are real.  That is not to say farmed animals are mistreated elsewhere they are.  But on this occassion the mistreatment is taking place on Cayman.  People want to do something about it and change it.  Add to that the 10 million dollar a year subsidy for this facility to operate and there is obviously room for improvement. Your snide comment didn't help that.

    • Anonymous says:

      When did the horse become an endangered species?  I thought your tastes, for consistency, would have been closer to panda burgers and balck rhinoceros stew.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If all Caymanians want out of turtle farm is turtle meat and a warm fuzzy feeling about history and heratige, they do not have to spend 8 million bucks a year to get it.


    Turn it into a small, well run meat processing plant and forget the rest.

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. B. Onneste says:

    Ten million dollars a year to subsidize a business?  That's $10,000,000 of the people's money that is being given away unnecessarily.  Any business that isn't profitable should make the changes necessary to turn a profit or close their doors. 

    I wonder if all those sick and deformed turtles are processed and sold as food!  Yuk!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I sincerely hope that Cayman can get the farm shipshape. I don't eat turtle meat, but I don't begrudge those who do. 

    I wonder if these WSPA people would be as vociferous when it comes to the horrific conditions that exist in chicken battery farms? (CNS: The answer is yes, see note below) These poor creatures are given antibiotics and growth hormones so they can slide into your Tendercrisp in record time.

    Similar horror stories exist with cattle. Most supermarket beef comes from cattle who spend their short lives with their necks in shackles of iron. They are force fed a diet of genetically modified corn with other growth additives. After the animal is slaughtered, other chemicals are added to improve the colour and extend the shelf life.

    One thing is for sure, the WSPA is not independent, nor unbiased. They will flex their considerable muscle where and when it suits them. You won't find them tackling big business, but when it comes to throwing their weight around down here, they don't have a problem with that.

    Watch for a delegation of 'concerned eco-warriors' to show up down here soliciting funds. As if they need money? One look at their web site clearly explains their affiliation to the UN. If the UN are broke, then we are all broke.

    CNS: Regarding the question in your second paragraph: the WSPA on Factory Farming. So yes, they do tackle big business and also economically powerful countries (Japan).

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue of the massive lost of money is not to do with the farm. It is to do with the "water park" Boatswins Beach (or however the heck you spell it).

      Shut that down and leave the farm. We all know that it is nothing more than a political construction project that has done nothing but drain the coffers dry, just so some politicians could keep some of their voters employed and off their backs!

      • Anonymous says:

        And don't forget Joey Ebanks's bar tab and $5,000 per month "extra" that he paid himself (and eventually paid back with a suit case full of cash).

      • Anonymous says:

        EXACTLY. Most people might even support a small subsidy of the old style Turtle Farm but not a non-Cayman style attraction. 

  7. Animaliberator says:

    In an ideal world, given enough money, anything would of course be possible. It has been noted many times that the financial drain on the public coffers to be the main issue at hand. According to the report, it seems the CTF has now a lack of qualified personnel to get the job done in terms of husbandry etc. hence the lay-off of 20 personnel in mid 2010, whatever function they may have had at the time, could be the cause of that. Despite the fact that Mr. Adam states that additional measures will not increase the requirement of additional funds, which I find hard to believe at this point unless further pay cuts are introduced for all personnel without adding any additional personnel to fill the gap of the CTF's shortfalls.


    When a serious price hike was introduced to the sale of meat to cover the operating expenses, did not work very well either as sales dropped significantly shortly thereafter. So the high cost of turtle meat could have increased poaching as the same may happen if the CTF closes down. Either way, the turtles are the losing party here any way you look at it.


    If there was a way to make the CTF a viable operation with the wellbeing of the turtles in the first place, add everything to it to maintain that and at least break even on the balance book, I would say for the sake of heritage and whatever other reason one may come up with, keep it open but as always, keeping my head out of the sand and based on the past decades of operation, this will very likely never happen. Having spent 40+ million on the transformation to Boatswain Beach adding 10 million on average per year to keep the doors open does not sound as a proper way of doing business.


    Mention has been made in related articles that it should be sold. Great, but who in their right mind would purchase this as a business proposition? Perhaps we could locate a philantropist and take it on as a hobby.


    The world is getting rid of money drains such as this, not because we want to but because we have to,it's called having no choice.


    In my personal ideal world, everybody would be a vegetarian which would solve the meat requirement problem and all animals, regardless of species would be free to roam in whatever space the world poulation has left for them, sea or land, is not much anymore as it is. It's time humans started looking at the performances of ourselves rather then looking at animals held in captivity and have a laugh at them while they suffer every single day of their artificially shortened lives.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks WSPA for causing this be brought to the forefront…once again.

    It is alarming that with 10 million per annum and so many overpaid "managers" that this situation is ongoing…year after year.

    Is anyone to be held "accountable"?…thought not!


  9. Anonymous says:

    That is a misleading headline since the report also does not support some of the claims of the Uk charity.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Whole latta talk, little bit of action.dats how we roll en we know it.  Maybe if the improvements could be seen by a normal person?  Until then its all Caymankind.

  11. Anonymous says:

    independent report my a$$……

    the place is a vile grotesque experience…boycott it and close it down!

  12. Pit Bull says:

    This is not a local issue for CIG, it is a national issue for the UK.  The UK needs to stop internal trading in CITES protected species as part of its international commitment to prevent animal abuse. 

    • Anonymass says:

      CITES is international, not internal. The truth will set you free from your parochial mindset.

      • Pit Bull says:

        I am aware of the nature of CITES.  But as part of the commitment to the CITES regime the UK should ban internal trade in CITES protect species and products derived from them.  Since you appear to be arguing in favour of trading in and eating turtles, I don't think I am the parochial one.

        • Anonymous says:

          The report reflects that the turtle farm is assisting conservation efforts with respect to turtles as an endangered species. It must follow that shutting down the turtle farm will be harmful to those efforts.

        • Anonymass says:

          Actaully, I'm arguing agaisnt the UK tying itself to something that no other country in the world is – some twisted internal interpretation of CITES. (The EU Directives are already bad enough thank you.) By that figuring you wouldnt' be able to buy an orchid or a cactus or a lot of other plants at the nursery. As I said, a parochial misunderstanding of the purpose of CITES and an assumption that your view is right for everyone else in the United Kingdom.

  13. Anonymou says:

    Given the new transparency of this government I would expect public disclosure of the entire study.

    • RRP says:

      Especially when you, me and the rest of the country are paying 10m annually for this gov’t business venture! We are entitled to see what our money is paying for.

      • Anonymous says:

        We may be entitled to see what our money is paying for but unless UDP Lite is very different from the UDP, we will not see it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Uhm, you mean like letting CNS post  PDF of it as an appendix to their story?

      Now I see what the troll button is for.