CIG has failed to address turtle welfare, says charity

| 22/09/2014

(CNS): A UK-based international charity has said the Cayman government has failed to address the on-going animal welfare issues at the Cayman Turtle Farm despite earlier promising talks with the current administration. World Animal Protection said its year-long closed door discussions with the government about the controversial Farm and the conditions there have broken down as the charity has received no response for more than two months in connection with issues discussed during talks in July. Although some progress had been made on the myriad problems with the facility, the charity says government has failed to act on the serious welfare issues but they can no longer be ignored.

It said overcrowding, cannibalism, injuries and disease among the almost 10,000 endangered green sea turtles at the Farm remain a significant concern.

Discussions with the PPM administration started over a year ago and World Animal Protection’s CEO Mike Baker said early discussions highlighted key areas of mutual concern over animal welfare conditions related to the Farm, such as overcrowding, the possible introduction of infectious diseases into the wild through the Farm’s turtle release program, and the illegal poaching of wild sea turtles.

In November last year the farm suspended the turtle release programme as it finally acknowledged that releasing the farmed turtles could put the wild population at risk of infectious disease. Alongside the cancelation of that programme the Department of the Environment received funding from the UK to investigate the true scale of Caymanian demand for sea turtle meat.

But the conditions in which turtles are being kept at the farm remain little changed and although there is now a full time vet at the facility the husbandry issues have not been addressed.

“Despite highly positive discussion nearly two months ago, we are disappointed that the CIG has failed to provide World Animal Protection with any updated formal response on the Farm’s conditions,” said World Animal Protection’s CEO, Mike Baker. “It is impossible to see how progress can be made without communication and participation from both sides,” he added as he stated that talks between the charity and government had broken down.

“After more than a year of patient engagement and talks behind closed doors, it is now time for the CIG to act. The root causes of acute animal suffering at the Farm, such as the severe overcrowding of turtles there, simply cannot be ignored any longer,” Baker added.

The charity which published a damning report just under two years ago about conditions at the farm is advocating to that the Farm transition from a butcher’s shop into a rehabilitation and conservation facility that fully protects sea turtles.

Following the statement on Friday from WAP, Cayman News Service contacted the Farm as well as the ministers and their officials from tourism and the environment but we are still awaiting a response.

Watch video interviews with Neil D’Cruse, WAP Head of Wildlife Policy and Research

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  1. Whodatis says:

    The cow is the most endangered animal on earth, yet the world consumes thousands of them every day … save for India perhaps.

    (Think about it before you post a 'smart' reply.)

    In any event, if people wish to eat turtle – let them eat turtle for eff's sake.

    You don't see us going to the UK and telling its millions of over-drinkers to stay out of the thousands of pubs every night and lowering the health standards of the country, do you?

    To each his own. Some of us like turtle protein – others like barley carbs.

  2. Animaliberator says:

    Why don't we cut throught the chase and all become vegetarians as we should be in the first place, that will solve all the arguments and problems about what to protect and what not.

    However, that will of course result in too many people becoming too healthy and would be a bad thing now would'nt it be? 

    Think about it, a healthy nation, who would want that? Nothing left to complain about.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The eating of turtle is backwards and barbaric.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Does the turtle farm work with the folks at the vet school at all?  It would offer great hands-on experience for the students plus a corp of volunteers with some knowledge of animal health.

  5. Anonymous says:

    CIG won't act, because votes are more important to them than animal welfare.  Changes must be imposed from London which is where WAP should focus its lobbying efforts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fine they have some points about the welfare of the green sea turtles and they should be addressed…. because i dont want to be eating diseased "farmed" turtle meat on Fridays.

    World Aminal Protection – now go to your country's farms and declare the same welfare measures are in place for the cows, pigs, sheep, and chicken.

    CNS: WAP does campaign against the conditions in factory farms. Watch this video.

    • Anonymous says:

      Remind me which of cows, pigs, sheep and chicken are endangered species?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm…the purported issue now is the supposed mistreatment of the animals. That is the point.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what exactly are the CI Turtle Farm doing to these endangered species that are raising may I ask? Aren't currently participating in a "a raise and release program" annually. Isn't this program putting more turtles into to bring up that population. 

        Im pretty sure the writer knows that those meats aren't endangered but isn't it also cruel to kill a baby calve just to put veal on a plate? 

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah   and what about insurance companies ? i hear they keep them captive here too !!!!!

      lol…….see ?  funny eh ? have some humor

  7. Snowman says:

    Turtles on Welfare???  What is this, Obama's Amerika?

    Get off the dole, turtle, and make it snappy! 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, welcome to the Cayman Islands. The CIG has failed to address about everything not involved with taking my money for their retirement

    • The Thinker says:

      Methinks that a lot of that +- $10,000,000 is enriching some people BEFORE  retirement!  Has anyone seen any accounting of where all that money is going?  If not, why not ???  How much does the farm take in from the tourist trade?  Where does it go?

  9. UHUHUH says:

    The last time Messrs. Mike Baker and Neil De"Cruse visited our Island and in so many words said, they would love to see the turtle Farm closed. Reason! Because of the cruelty to the animals.

    Now I'm not here to say, that we couldn't do a better job, where the welfare of those turtles is concerned, but I would like to ask these two gentlemen one question! Why is it that they find it necessary to travel all the way from their homeland, Great Britain to come here to tell us what a terrible job we're doing at the farm and make this statement "Cayman government has failed to address the on-going animal welfare issues at the Cayman Turtle Farm despite earlier promising talks with the current administration".

    I have this, to say to both of these men. The old adage says before criticizing someone for anything make doubly sure that you are not guilty of the same infraction. Infractions like those seen on a film "appropriately called" Cruel Britannia, which shows extreme cruelty at some of the biggest farms in the United Kingdom. 

    ​I don't blame them for trying to do what-ever they believe will keep them in a job where they can earn a very good salary, and travel for free plus other perks, from the donations of those who support their cause. But to fly down here and to criticize us about the way we run the Turtle Farm! When in your homeland your have some of the "world's greatest" violators. I will say to you, as is said in common vernacular! Get A Life! 

    Lastly! Let me leave those of you who love our Turtle Farm, and those who may feel that these two gentlemen have a right to do this!  Please go to the following and see for yourselves what animal cruelty is really like. 

    Again I say to Messrs. Baker and De'Cruse!  CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME! Start there.

    CNS: WAP is a global animal welfare charity that campaigns all over the world, including Britain. Watch this video and see others here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It does not take a rocket scientist to know that if there was a qualified and experienced Biologist, especially a Marine Biologist at the helm of the Turtle Farm it would not be in the condition it is in and it would be money well spent and I am sure one can be found for less than what is being paid for a mananger now.   The turtles would be the focus first, the dollars second.  Do away with the swimming pool and water slides … is not worth the operating cost for the few that spend more than an hour at the farm on any given day.  Make less crowded pens that can be kept clean at ALL times.  Have properly educated and trained guides available to take visitors on a tour.  Also label the pens with scientific and accurate information so you know what kind of turtles are in there, the range of ages, how many, etc. starting from the hatchlings and progressing to adulthood so those who walk through on their own can also be educated.  Having one or two babies in a bucket for vsitiors to see is appalling and archaic at such a facitlity.  Oh and while you are at it take the miserable man out of the bird enclosure who spends his time smoking just outside the enclosure and has no training in customer service or even common courtesy. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well who do these Animal Rights people think they are?

    Don't they realize that the CIG have dealt with nothing and have no accomplishments with their time in office.

    Has the government ever enacted the famed Conservation Law?

    Don't get me started on the dump.

    This posting may have been harsh so I would appreciate hearing about CIG sucess stories.

    Sorry for any offense I may have caused with this posting.

  12. anon says:

    The turtles at Turlte Farm don't look like this. Clearly you're siding with the activists when you put up the worse picture you can find.

  13. Anonymous says:

    When the first Europeans came to Cayman they found one of the largest turtle nesting grounds on earth. For nearly 200 years, ships of all nations (particularly French, Dutch and English) came to these shores to 'turn' green and loggerhead turtles and dry their flesh, an easily obtainable source of protein for ship or plantation stores. Early on, Cayman became the centre of the Caribbean turtle industry. The English from Jamaica, who first settled in Cayman in the 1660s, came to be regarded as skilled turtlers. By 1800, the turtle population had dwindled and the local turtling fleet turned their attention to the south coast of Cuba and the coastline of Central America. Until the early 1960s, Cayman still supplied the largest share of turtles entering foreign markets from the Caribbean. These were mostly caught on the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua.

    What WSPA needs to do, isstay out of our business and go find some real problems to do. The Turtling and eating of Trutles were loooooonnnnnnnng before their time.

    LIke i said in a previous article, as long as beacon, chicken, beef, pork, ostrich, veal (meat from young calves), mutton etc are being prepared for consumers to eat, please dont have anything to say to the CIG regarding what they should be doing with the CI Turtle Farm or the Turtle.  

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      So your argument is that as long as it was going on in Cayman hundreds of years ago, its OK?  Great.  Lets reintroduce slavery, then. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Like comparisons with Hitler that is totally inappropriate and undermines your whole argument.

      • Inspector Clouseau says:

        No my point is, it wasn't a problem then when we were catching and eating them. When the CI GOV bought the Turtle Farm and the raise & release program was introduce it wasn't a problem. But since WSPA gets into the mix its big problem! What WSPA needs to do since they have such a huge organization, shut down Sea World where Tilicum the "killer whale" who killed 3 of his  trainers.

        Stay on topic friend, don't bring slavery into this as it has no place. My argument is on point and that's your way of changing it. 

        The only people that wants these changes with the Turtle Farm are the foreigners/expats. What they need to deal with their animal welfare problems at home and leave us to do with our own. Everybody wants to come in these islands and tell what need to & don't need to be doing but they when they can't take care of they're own problems abroad. 

        The Turtle Farm will continue to sell turtle meat as long as other meats are being placed on plates for consumption. 

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          I see.  So its not a tradition issue, then, so much as "it was alright before outsiders started criticising it, and they need to focus on their own issues and leave us to our own devices".   Much like the plantation owners said back when the emancipationists started campaigning in the UK – they should mind their own business, and keep out of ours and our traditional way of life.  So it is exactly like slavery then. 

          When your defence is that its no one elses business and in any event they are no better than we are, then you have a moral problem, my friend.  Think about what you are saying – is that really what you believe?  That it doesnt matter if the practice causes suffering because a) if no one else knew they wouldnt complain and make you look bad, and b) the fellow country men of the criticisers are also cruel to animals (irrespective of whether the accusers themselves are, and ignoring the fact that they criticise the same behaviour in their own country).


          • Inspector Clouseau says:

            Let me remind you buddy, it is about tradition for as these very Cayman Islands were named "Las Tortugas" because of the abundance of turtles which found here when it was discovered by Christophor Columbus. And if you were from here you would/should know that. 

            While the CI Turtle Farm is playing vital role in assisting with its raise & release program, it also isn't a program with preparing meat for human consumption. 

            How can treatment be an issue when none of these authors of these comments have never remained on that site for no more than a few hours? Whose at fault when little kids aren't born fully developed with 10 toes & 10 fingers, would it be mom at fault since she's carrying it or dad since he put it there? Tough one to answer right? Or that's just the way of life? Someone took that photo and now it's the sore eye for this article. How much crueler can it get by killing a baby calve just to have veal or baby back beef ribs or baby pig for baby back pork ribs? Do you oppose to that too or that's fine because it's great meal for a family gathering?

            WSPA is not about getting things in order at the Turtle Farm with better management, their aim is to have it shut down. The Turtle Farm cannot be the worst managed on earth. 


            So so you get back to making your pies since your argument has no foundation. 



          • Anonymous says:

            Fred the Pork Pie Maker. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, I agree! The beacon consumption should be as illegal as turtle-poaching. Where are they procuring these beacons? Putting the boating public at risk by removing beacons is just as anti-social as hording turtle. 

      • Anon says:

        I can see where it was an typo, so haha.

      • Anon says:

        yea you couldn't make it at stand up comedy, find something else to do if you're only looking for typo's for a laugh.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I generally agree with you I think we need to keep a few things in perspective. Otherwise you make arguments that do not counter the WSPA propaganda.

      1) WSPA/WAP are pointing out the animal husbandry/welfare problems at the Farm. I think most of us can agree that the Farm needs to clean up its act in several respects.

      2) WSPA/WAP have not said they object to eating wild turtle IIRC. In fact they don't actually care about the environmental aspects of wild turtle populations and use. They aren't environemntalists, they are animal rights activists.

      3) WSPA/WAP want to close the Farm because they don't believe there is any acceptable to them way to farm turtles. Therefore even if the Farm does clean up its act (whcih they should) WSPA will keep objecting to the Farm because they do not believe the Farm shouldexist.

      4) As far as WSPA are concerned the only animals we should be farming are the ones that people have farmed for so long that they are 'domesticated' (to WSPA's self-proclaimed standards). So everything on your list (except ostriches I suppose) are OK. (Until they say they're not of course.)