UK MP to press for no turtle meat for tourists

| 26/07/2014

(CNS): A British Conservative MP will be coming to the CaymanIslands next week to throw his political weight behind the campaign to persuade local restaurants not to sell turtle meat to visitors. A UK charity which is on a drive to transition the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) from a meat supplier into a purely conservation-based facility is taking aim at the tourism market as a starting point for reducing what demand exists for the meat. Matthew Offord, the Tory representative for Hendon in North London, will be hosting a reception here and also helping with the UK-based campaign to get the Conservative government to advise UK travellers at least not to eat the meat from the endangered species.

Eating turtle in the UK is illegal and in the wake of a recent statement from the UK government advising visitors to Japan not to eat live sushi, World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals) is hoping it can get similar support for a travel advisory along the same lines for eating turtle in Cayman.

Simultaneously, Offord and the WAP will be pressing restaurants here to voluntarily stop promoting the meat to tourists. So far, the Grand Old House is the first and only restaurant to remove turtle from its menu and has agreed to sell it only to locals who pre-order the dish.

Professor Neil D'Cruze from the WAP told CNS that he appreciates that a ban maybe difficult to implement but he is hoping to persuade more restaurants to take the meat off the menu altogether voluntarily or adopt the same position as the Grand Old House, where the campaign launch will be held. The charity also wants to persuade the Department of Tourism (DoT) to support the idea of at least not promoting the meat to visitors as it believes it stimulates a false and unnecessary demand.

Concerned that the CTF has no idea what the real demand for the meat is even from locals, D’Cruze said he was delighted to hear that the Department of Environment has received funding from the UK's department of food and rural affairs' Darwin Initiative to begin a comprehensive survey of that demand and research into the genetic profile of turtles nesting on the beaches to identify the connections of the local wild turtles to the Farm.

That project is unrelated to the WAP campaign and part of the DoE's broader research work into the endangered species and their survival in the wild. It is being led by Dr Ana Nuno from the University of Exeter and is expected to provide the first truly objective information about the origin of turtles that are breeding in local waters, as well as get a true assessment of how much demand there is for meat and the issues surrounding poaching.

The WAP maintains that the CTF slaughters animals without properly assessing demand and also keeps huge numbers of the animals without knowing the true level of consumption and whether it is necessary to breed so many. D'Cruze said that any figures that can give a truer picture of how much and how many local people do eat the meat may help reduce the numbers held at the farm.

Understanding that the effort to transition the facility to conservation will be a long process, he said that simply reducing the numbers held at the farm, which are estimated to currently be more than 9,000 animals, would be a step in the right direction.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    At least his argument will be educated, unlike yours. If you wondered why the outside world think that you are barbarians, get an education, a dictionary, (Oxford English I would suggest) and stop reading crap tabloid newspapers. You obviously have no idea of the subject you rant about, preferring to utilise trash news without having any first hand experience of the UK or Hendon for that matter.

    You talk the talk of a little islander who has just got his first taste of the internet, get a life buddy. Go travel a bit instead of readingonline garbage that you cannot possibly judge to be accurate 6000 miles away.

    Eating an endangered specie is barbaric in an enlightened world, it goes against all norms of civilised behaviour and is totally unnecessary given the proliferation of food on this island. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    What happens to all the shells?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good start.  But the imposition of a total ban of all trade in turtle products would be simple and much more effective.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Forget the turtle farm! Let's protect what's in the wild! They are getting slaughtered daily and there is NOTHING been done to protect them.

    when is the NCL going to be enforced???? 

    Miller and Mclean where is your mouth on this subject? If " furiners" we're taking the turtle you guys would be screaming from the roof tops!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr British MP please make note that it does not bother us one bit you asking the restaurants not to sell turtle meat to tourist, because finally at last there will be enough for our table.

    Another thing you people  need to mind your  own business.

  6. Dred says:

    So….let me get this straight….one bunch of those cronies want to shut our banking down cause we taking all their tax dollars now those idiots want to stop us eating turtle now? So when we don't have jobs we can't eat our turtle to de-stress?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Offord, are you also going to provide funding to help the "Over The Top West Bay Theme Park" pay off it's debt?

  8. Anonymous says:


    To harass us for our turtle meat. I don’t see any CAYMANIAN goingbto good old mother country and campaigning against them eating pheasant or black pudding.

    Just don’t come to Cayman, stay where you are and leave us alone.

  9. SKEPTICAL says:

    He might as well have saved his money. Americans, who represent the bulk of our tourists wouldn't touch it – firstly because of the argument he is about to present, secondly because they eat nothing with which they are not familiar, and finally because turtle food products are an acquired taste. It would only take one in a tourist party to risk trying turtle stew, and the rest would very quickly get the message that it is not for them – and that without the issue of the cost of turtle as a menu item. The issue for the turtle farm is that they cannot sell the secondary products like jewelry made from turtle shell, which could be very profitable.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Is this MP going to fund the turtle farm as a conservation effort???   I would think not. If not then he should just stay where he is and leave our turtles alone.  They are all willing to make noise and shout that we shouldn't eat turtle meat.

     Why don't they cry conservation for vegetables and crumpets!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Keeping turtles in cages and then killing them is like bear baiting, dog fighting, cock fighting, bull ffighting, badger baiting ad public executions of humans. It was ok in the past when we were a lot more nasty about things like cruelty, racism and supposed cultural imperatives that came from these and so on.

  12. Just Sayin' says:

    It doesn’t taste that great. I only eat it to piss off WSPA.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We need to ask the MP what has he or Britain has ever done for us, especially after our worst ever natural disaster Hurricane Ivan or even the 1932 Hurricane? Matthew Offord, please stay out of affairs, we are not in your constituency.

    Turtle Meat is part of our heritage. We do not discriminate against your national dishes such as pork which is often served with blood, or your delicacy Black Pudding which is made of blood and pigs intestines, which is often frowned upon by other countries.

    Have you ever heard of the cliche " When in Rome, do as the Romans do ", we built our own world class and renowned tourism product on our own without Britain, how dare you now come and try to interfere with it. I say mind your own business Matthew Offord.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This really takes the cake, a drunk MP who was just a year ago was asked to leave a Arm Forces Banquet having drank over a bottle of wine and calling the labour govt. "gobshite"  and "prat" 

    is coming to Cayman ( assume to drink more and work on his tan) …. to stop us eating a local plate of food ????  sometimes there is no need to demonstrate what is the issue with the British govt., you only need to look at what their MP's get up to.  Instead of him staying in his constituency and address the massive problems he takes –  can only assume a "free" holiday to Cayman. The MP's Hendon constituency has the following highlights let start first off by allegations of election incompetently and irregularities that brought him to power in 2010 followed by such statements by MP he defeated – 'Mr Offord ran a "dirty campaign"  full of "slurs and lies"- "It's the most unpleasant campaign I've been involved in – but I don't want to sound like a bad loser," said Mr Dismore.

    Maybe Offord should stay home and find solutions to the issues he has been elected to fix such as inadequate social housing, community unrest, social problems of deprived inner city estatesand homelessness. When his own constitutes came to meet with him having arranged a police liaison the local residents including Priests and children where left out in the cold as Offord  escaped through a side door in a police van instead of meeting with a group of his own constituents.

    Now this is the person coming to Cayman Islands to tell us not to eat turtle or even worse seek to influence our visitors in to believing that the Caymanian people are barbarians for farming and enjoy what is a culturallyhistoric delicacy that is farmed and has infect contributed to the continued existence of the green turtle.

    Offord is the type of biget who opposed marriage equality and his defense was to utter “Equality does not mean that we treat everything the same" I think that type of statement clearly sums up the kind of person and MP Offord is sober or drunk !

  15. Anonymous says:

    We should invite him to come discuss his concerns over lunch Friday at Country and Western. 

  16. Carpet munching freakazoid says:

    Farmed or wild turtles will always be eaten in the Cayman Islands. Fact!

  17. Shore Diver says:

    Are there fewer turtles in the sea now than there were 100 years ago?  Is it because they are being killed to be eaten?  The answer is "yes" to both questions.

  18. Anonyanmous says:

    WTH, Physicial heal thy self and leave our turtle meat alone.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is this the best that these government representatives can come up with to rally for. I am sure that there are far more pressing global issues that they could put their weight behind. Like mental health facilities, our failing education system, birth control, our overflowing prison and the list goes on and on and on and the best these idiots can do is worry about what the hell we serve in our restaurants and what is on the food chain. Classic!