Visitor turtle meat ban posed

| 13/01/2014

(CNS): The World Society for the Protection of Animals, which is continuing its campaign to transform the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm into a conservation facility, is hoping to persuade government to ban the sale of turtle meat to visitors. Representatives from the international charity, which is based in the UK, arrived in Cayman on Sunday ahead of meetings with government officials, including the tourism minister, and with restaurant owners to galvanize support for the proposal. The WSPA visit comes against the backdrop of more concerns about releasing farmed turtles into the wild from the facility, which is still draining some $10 million per annum from the public purse.

The WSPA believes that the new government is willing to consider this proposal, which would not impact local consumption at this point but, the charity believes, such a ban would be a step in the right direction.

Dr Neil D’Cruze, Head of Wildlife Research & Policy at WSPA, said he was visiting to follow up on previous conversations about this possibility during the charity's last visit to the Cayman islands and to see for himself how restaurateurs and the local hotels feel about serving the dish to tourists.

“WSPA is here to talk with the government about the sale of sea turtle meat to tourists visiting the Cayman Islands. In addition to our animal welfare concerns, WSPA is concerned about the impact that this is having on wild sea turtle conservation efforts,” he told CNS. “Evidence suggests that tourists do not come to the Cayman Islands to eat sea turtle meat. By encouraging tourists to do so, the CTF is stimulating international demand that would not otherwise exist for an endangered wild animal.”

Although turtle meat is available predominately in restaurants serving the domestic market, several restaurants do still serve a limited amount of turtle dishes to tourists.

“We are hoping to advance on our prior positive conversations with the Caymanian Government by discussing the feasibility of ending the sale of sea turtle meat to visiting tourists,” D’Cruze said.

The WSPA and the Cayman Turtle Farm have been engaged in a war of words for over a year following a damning report by the charity. After its publication, the CTF commissioned its own review, which led to a number of changes. However, the farm still appears to be dealing with husbandry issues.

Despite having boosted production last year, with some 9,000 turtles housed there, the CTF cancelled the annual release programme planned during Pirates Week last year. Although the release is an important part in what the farm claims are its conservation credentials, fears that have been long held by many experts that farmed turtles may have a negative impact on those in the wild appear to have influenced the farm management’s decision to cancel the release.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So many ignorant & racist people commenting here! Foolish, small & narrow minded idiots.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't think the request has the slightest chance of attracting any real attention.  It will not sit well  with the Human Rights Commission if one class of person are banned from exercising their rights to purchase whatever they wish to eat. Th next request from them will be what w choose to wear. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Right on 11.00. Personally I blame the turtels and it is them that should be banned from Cayman, bringing all that meat here and tempting us humans with their wares. Shame on them.


      Seriously, never heard a more ridiculous suggestion….do they say the same about farmed salmon?

      • Anonymous says:

        But it's alright to eat fish, 'cause they don't have any feelings. – Nirvana

      • Anonymous says:

        What is their take on cloning, our their mad cow putt putt?

  3. Anonymous says:

    It iS a conservation facility, mainly because it keeps poachers out of the water. Why don't these people focus their efforts on the disgusting abuses that take place at feedlots across the US and Canada? The turtles at the farm have a much better life than those poor animals. 

  4. Doctor Too Little Too Late says:

    What really gets to me! Is how these people have the audacity to come here and ask us to not sell turtle to those restaurants who may offer on their menu the one item that is truly "Cayman Cuisine!   Thats like going to Disney World and you're told,  you can't see Mickey Mouse!

    It just goes to show that these people who constantly speak  about saving the world from those who want to destroy it, are themselves destroyers of a healthy tradition. Yes I said destroyers of a healthy tradition because these people travel to places like the Cayman  Islands where they try to convince us that by eating turtle, some how, we're going to destroy the marine ecosystem. That is pure CRAP  plain and simple!!  Why doesn't  Dr. Neil D'Cruze take a cruise to Brazil and tell them to stop cutting down the rain forests which is contributing greatly to our global warming? Why doesn't Dr. D'Cruze take a cruise up to the United States and tell them they have to stop drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico? Why doesn't Dr. D'Cruze take a cruise to Myanmar and tell them to stop the burning of the forests that is home to millions, of  so many different  species? I'll tell you why, because all these countries will tell him politely to, "Takea Hike"! 


    You see certain of these echo- groups like to pick on places like the little Islands of Cayman, because we're small and we're intimidated by people with a Dr. in front of their name, and when they come here, we being the gracious hosts, will welcome them, and dine them, instead of politely telling them this: 

    "If you are here to try and convince us to give up our tradition of eating Turtle Meat which we have done continuously for over five hundred years. Then we'll have to call the chauffeur  and have him take you back to your hotel! Upon hearing this, they will know without a doubt, that we are "determined" to continue our tradition of Eating Turtle. 

    So lets not waste time with these people whose only objective is to get us to capitulate to their wishes and give up the longest continuous tradition we have  on this Island. Just leave us alone  and let us enjoy our oldest and best tradition! That of EATING TURTLE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mickey Mouse isn't an endangered species.

      Soon, however, turtles will be just like Mickey Mouse –  nothing but imagination – because you all are going to eat them too extinction.   It's only a matter of time. Enjoy your precious turtle meat while you can.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your ignorance is astounding. The turtle farm helps to preserve the wild turtle population both by providing an alternative to poaching from the wild and by releasing turtles bred in the farm into the wild when they can fend for themselves. There is no likelihood of eating them to extinction. Is there any evidence that the wild turtle population is declining? I thought not. That is just made up nonsense.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Or it could be like going to Disney Land and not being allowed to EAT Mickey Mouse 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mi eat di turtle like mi yam di pulam!

    • Anonymous says:
  6. Anonymous says:

    How about a Lobster or Conch farm? Japan buys live sedated Caribbean lobster for US$50 a pound.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Have they gone to Australia and demanded the same for kangaroo, or the US for Bison, or Hong Kong for all other species? Why does CIG entertain their hypocritical "advocacy" BS. Meeting with them is a waste of time which equals a waste of taxpayer dollars. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    WSPA claims if a tourist eats FARMED turtle meat in Cayman that is "stimulating international demand that would not otherwise exist for an endangered wild animal." Is there any evidence at all of that actually happening, or is that just the WSPA grasping at straws to make an argument? You heard any reports about tourists going back home and asking Albertson's to start selling turtle steak, or asking Red Lobster to add turtle stew to the menu?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Which other tourist destination in the world have you heard about their government banning tourists from eating a popular traditional local dish?

    • Anonymous says:

      where else in the world are you legally allowed to eat an endagered species??????…….wonderland stuff…..

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummmm…it is FARMED not taken from the wild, idiot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Interesting articles about eating endangered species:

        Quotes an expert Terry Anderson (from PERC, the Property and Environment Resource Center): farming has already worked with elephants in Botswana, rhinos in southern Africa, and the bison in America. He believes it will work again with tigers in China.  "If we make animals a marketable product," said Anderson, "they will be saved."


        Another article about farming/eating endangered species in North America: 

        One quoted comment: “If you’re keeping them for a museum piece,” he said, “you’ve just signed their death warrant.”


        Maybe counterintuitive, but thought-provoking nevertheless!

      • Anonymous says:

        Endangered??! You see how much turtles up in dem tanks bobo?

  10. Anonymous says:

    According to this article, WSPA is "hoping to persuade government to ban the sale of turtle meat to visitors" and "this proposal would not impact local consumption at this point." Really we're supposed to buy into that?  So how does WSPA suggest that Government would enforce this "ban"? Are we going to have restaurant police checking IDs for anybody who orders turtle? Or are the restaurant police going to say which restaurants can serve turtle and which ones can't?

    • Anonymous says:

      NB "…at this point". Lowering local consumption, however, is the end game.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We need to stand strong as one and maintain our culture & remind those people that they are visitors to our country! WE ARE CAYMANIANS!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    This country will always be followers to the white man, Cayman history will surely be history soon! We can’t go to any man country and tell them what to do, we’ll be thrown out their country in a heart beat! Bracka

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fortoo long now Caymanians have allowed foreign entities to dictate what is best for Cayman and Caymanians. It is time that we wake up and take control of our own destiny.

    The racists and bigots will try to tell us that we are nobody and are incapable of making our own decisions. This is the same strategy that has always been used to enslave and control people; but we need to reject this type of thinking and move forward with what is best for Cayman and Caymanians.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You could certainly purchase some new government vehicles with that 10 million……. Garbage trucks, ambulances..etc… The turtles won't care I'm sure.

  15. Hear, hear - says:

    Control the conch too please.  So many local fisherman break the laws just to feed the tourists, it needs to be stopped.  The conservation law was just passed so let's clean up our act.

    Fellow islanders: The days of only having "the sea" to feed us is long gone and we took too much from our sea.  Do you remember the Shark industry?  (No, they are ALL gone)  do you remember our Sponge trade? (Nope! Dat gone too…) it is time to stop feeding our lustful greed and xenophobic ways (Da property we now sell lot by lot is going the way of the sponge too, dat for sure)

    Dont defend the backwards ways.  Should we go back to smoke pots and thatch too?  You cannot have your cake (turtle) and eat it too.  We waste millions of dollars a year on the turtle farm and this money would be better spent on the National Museum or cultural fairs…

    Wake up and close down the turtle farm and police our waters against poachers. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    Outsiders need to mind their own business, gt voter

    • Anonymous says:

      Like with their money you mean?

    • Anonymous says:

      white south africans used to say the same thing a few years back……..

      • Anonymous says:

        LOl. Now we are comparing apartheid to eating turtle meat from the farm? How desperate can you get.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don't think the person was comparing apartheid to eating turtle meat, but comparting the previous poster's comment about outsiders minding their own business with they way some South Africans told others to mind their own business about apartheid. How dense can you get?

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, that's what I said. Comparing apartheid with eating turtle meat. In other words, they are totally different situations and telling outsiders in one case which involves racism and serious breaches of international human rights isn't acceptable while in this case it really isn't any of their business. Got it?

    • Anonymous says:

      They should use that as a quote in the posters of the next Caymankind campaign.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Idon't give a shit about that.. Go ahead and ban the tourists..  As long as i can my sweet sweet turtle on Friday's! Everythings good in tha neighbourhood! 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      You're missing the point. This is proceeding by degrees. In the absence of demand from restaurants the Turtle Farm will become less and less viable ultimately forcing it to close. Most Caymanians do not cook their own turtle meat but purchase it from restaurants. The WSPA thinks we are idiots and will not recognisethis for what it is.     

  18. Anonymous says:

    Not only should they ban the sale of turtle meat to restaurants who serve tourists, they should also ban the sale to restaurants who don't know how to properly cook turtle.

    Then again, turtle stew from some of those restaurants who shall remain nameless is enough to put you off eating turtle for the rest of your life. That, combined with the picture above, has certainly put me off eating turtle.

    • Turtle na made for horse we eat em says:

      So what you're telling me is, if this was an article about contaminated chickens, with a picture of a chicken with only half of its feathers, you would cut off eating chicken for the rest of your life?  Stop talking crap and acquire some sense!  It's a personal choice for someone to buy and eat turtle at various restaurants, not saying they will all taste great.  Just like any other world cuisine, there is good and bad. Good jerk spot, bad jerk spot; good italian, bad italian, etc….get it. And if you want it your way like Burger King, then you might want to cook it yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS – I think you need a WTF? choice at the bottom for posts like this. Or maybe just a ganja leaf.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sure that was CNS's intention – to put you off eating turtle.  

  19. Anonymous says:

    Close it down and save all the money we piddle away to keep this tawdry (supposedly culturally important) operation going. Younger Caymanians are eating pizza and burgers anyway.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Don't these idiots ever stop?! Don't Caymanians also eat at restaurants? What evidence do they have that a tourist having a turtle stew dinner in Cayman is stimilating world-wide demand for turtle? They just make it up as they go along trying to bully Cayman. I

    did not feel strongly about the Turtle Farm remaining open before but now I am really p****d off!

    • Diogenes says:

      Do try reading the article before flying off the handle.  The suggestion is to stop tourists eating it, not restaurants selling it to Caymanians.  The argument would be that eating turtle is hardly part of a tourists culture – so the main argument in support of the farming does not apply.  How it would work in practice I do not know, but I guess its no different to making hotels charge tourists accomodation tax but not residents, or the different admission prices charged to the Turtle Farm for residents versus Caymanians.   I do not see why you should feel offended on that basis – doesn't interefere with your ability to access turtle meat one little bit. 



      • Anonymous says:

        Where are we – Cuba? Obviously no restaurant could have a locals only menu and then a tourist menu, or have 'locals only' restaurants. "Sir, can you please show me some local ID to prove you are a resident". It would be all or none. It's ridiculous. 

        Tourists travel to enjoy the local culture and this is a part of Cayman's culture.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Only time I've eaten turtle was in the UK, didn't like it and haven't tried it since, long while ago now.  Not really sure where they are going with this, I thought they were against the release of captive turtles.

      So can't eat them, can't release them, do we just shut the place down and kill off the stock?

  21. Anonymous says:

    shut the turtle farm and sell the property…..its a national embarassment…….

  22. Cheese Face says:

    Please close  this embarrassment down now! $10 million a year? I'm paying tax on my gas for this? Close it now!

    • Anonymous says:

      People, people, get it straight. It is NOT the Turtle Farm that is costing over 10 million a year!! It IS Boatswain Beach!!! For some reason, that FACT isn't being pointed out by anyone.

      I agree that Boatswain Beach should be shut down and all those pools converted to swiming areas for the turtles.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is deliberate obfuscation on this point. Silly arguments like they are paying $10m p.a in taxpayers money so that locals can eat turtle meat.

      • A. Turtle says:

        Yeah, and keep the water slides!

    • Anonymous says:

      What ignorance. Like the poster below says the$10m has nothing to do with the cost of rearing turtles. 15 years ago, when it had more turtles, the Turtle Farm was turning a small profit.