Beatle backs call to stop turtle farming in Cayman
(CNS): One of the world’s most famous musicians, Paul McCartney, has offered his public support to the international campaign being spearheaded by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to stop turtle farming in the Cayman Islands. The former Beatle member announced on his website and ‘tweeted’ his backing for the campaign as he asked his fans to also support the goal to stop the farming and move towards conservation. Meanwhile, the Sea Turtle Conservancy has also joined the WSPA in asking the Cayman Turtle Farm to end the farming and is encouraging members of the public to take action.
Tweeting about the campaign on Wednesday, McCartney said there was no humane way to farm sea turtles. “Support @WSPA campaign to #stopseaturtlefarming,” McCartney posted on his Twitter account.
The WPSA’s campaign is attracting worldwide attention and at 2pm on Thursday 46,881 people had signed a petition on the website, which was posted only at the weekend.
A spokesperson for Sea Turtle Conservancy, which is based in the US, said Thursday that it had objected repeatedly to the Cayman Turtle Farm’s release of captive-raised turtles into the wild because of the potential impact on wild populations in the broader Caribbean.
“Well-documented diseases found primarily in captive turtles can be spread to wild populations,” the world's oldest marine turtle research and conservation organization said. “The turtles that are breeding at the Cayman Turtle Farm originate from many different oceans and nesting colonies, which means they have very different genetics. If their offspring are allowed to mix with and mate in the wild, it could have far reaching impacts on sea turtle navigation abilities and genetics.”
The group also said the release programme gives a false impression that conservation can be accomplished simply by breeding turtles in tanks and the releasing them.
“The Cayman Turtle Farm tries to promote its operation as something beneficial to wild turtle populations,” said David Godfrey, Sea Turtle Conservancy Executive Director. “Despite the lack of evidence that the turtle release program actually benefits the wild population, countless individuals around the world are led to believe that the program works and that it is a successful option for saving and restoring wild sea turtle numbers.”
Godfrey also pointed to the recent death of about 300 green turtles at the Farm during the repair of a leaking seawater pipe and said the turtles had been left to die in the heat.
“In essence, once the tank was drained, the turtles were left piled on top of each other to cook to death under the Cayman sunshine,” said Godfrey. “It’s time to turn things around at the Cayman Turtle Farm, and there really is an opportunity to do something positive for sea turtles at this historical site.”
The group said it was joining the World Society for the Protection of Animals in publicly asking the Cayman Turtle Farm to permanently end sea turtle farming and encouraging members of the public to take action at www.stopseaturtlefarm.org
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