Charity urges ban on turtle touching at Cayman Turtle Farm

| 25/07/2016 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

2014 picture of tourist holding turtle at Rum Point

(CNS): The animal rights charity World Animal Protection has accused the local authorities in Cayman of being hypocritical when it comes to handling turtles and they are urging the Department of Environment to call for a ban on touching them at the Cayman Turtle Farm as well as in the ocean. After an interview on the local TV news with Mark Orr, in which the senior conservation officer at the DoE condemned the handling of turtles in the wild after an old picture surfaced on social media, the charity said the fact he told people to go to the CTF to do it after admitting it was stressful was “astonishing”.

Orr told Cayman 27 that the practice of handling turtles as was depicted in the old image was cruel. He said chasing the turtle, grabbing, pulling. dragging it and holding it up in the air caused harm and as well as being bad for the turtle was against the law. “If you really want a picture holding a turtle that badly, head on over to the Turtle Farm,” the conservation officer said.

But the CEO from the charity that has been campaigning or several years to transition the Cayman Turtle Farm into a conservation facility said it was “astonishing” that on the one hand the DoE rightly condemns the unnecessary stress and harm caused by a tourist grabbing a sea turtle in the wild, but on the other promotes doing the same thing at the CTF.

“We urge the DoE and the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) to follow their own advice and join us in calling for an immediate end to the handling of all turtles, be they those in the sea or those in concrete tanks at the Cayman Turtle Farm,” Steve McIvor from WAP said. “It is staggering hypocrisy for handling sea turtles in the wild to be a criminal act — punishable by up to $500,000 in fines and 4 years in jail – whilst providing tourists with the exact same activity at the Cayman Turtle Farm.”

Head of Wildlife Research at World Animal Protection, Dr Neil D’Cruze, who has spearheaded the campaign to put an end to the farming of turitles welcomed the admission by the DoE that touching turtles causes stress and harm.

“But we question once again why the DoE and Cayman Islands Government continue to support this exact same type of activity at the Turtle Farm,” he said. “The Cayman Islands Government seems to be turning a blind and hypocritical eye yet again to the cruelty the Turtle Farm causes to thousands of turtles every single year. It’s about time they woke up and ended turtle handling at the Farm,” D’Cruze added.

See Orr’s comments here.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (25)

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  1. Sir G says:

    What’s the difference between having a chicken farm and having a turtle farm? Weren’t chickens also once considered wild animals at one point? It’s not like say the turtle farm is taking eggs from the wild to have a farm. The turtles are bred in captivity.

    • Anonymous says:

      BINGO!!! The environMENTALISTS just don’t get it. They have their agenda and won’t see sense.

  2. Sharkey says:

    Anonymous 26/ 07/ 2016 6: 35 am . I agree with your comment 100% . All activist are just alike , if you don’t support their cause they attack you until you start put money in their organization , then when you start putting money in them they own you .
    They really need to get a job and have a healthy life and eat more turtle meat .

  3. Anonymous says:

    Aquariums around the world all have the ability to touch various animals.

    Besides turtles are also food.

    That’s like saying stop touching cows, chickens etc…

    Iguanas next : )

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t say I have been to every aquarium around the world but the few that I have been to does not allow it.

      Plus your comment is invalid as they didn’t say don’t touch it, don’t take it out of its environment should be the main thing…hold a cow or chicken in water and see if they like it

  4. Anonymous says:



  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who has been around turtles in the water knows that the turtles do not want to be handled. A child who doesn’t know any better or who doesn’t care will grab them. Education is needed to teach proper respect for nature.

  6. Just Askin' says:

    If we can’t control touching in our schools how we going to stop it at the turtle farm?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have a pair of turtle eggs the WAP can busy themselves with.

    Like a damn mosquito in the dark – so annoying.

    – Who

  8. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

    “Do gooders trying to tell everyone else how to conduct their lives as usual” The turtles at CTF are accustomed to it from early in their lives, and it is certainly NOT traumatic. Please find something better to do with your effort.

    • Anonymous says:

      While not entirely in agreement with you I had some sympathy for your viewpoint until you stated unequivocally that it is ‘certainly NOT traumatic’ and that they are ‘accustomed to it from early in their lives’. The latter is fact I agree but that does not make it right and in any case the former does not necessarily follow. Did the fact that bear cubs were shackled up, mutilated and forced to ‘dance’ from a young age make it non traumatic / OK? Didn’t think so. To be clear nor am I a biologist or animal psychologist so I don’t know if it is traumatic or not. I will rely on expert opinion on that. Until then… I think your point is better served without that claim.

    • Your local marine biologist says:

      So with your logic, if I start slapping a child from early in their lives, it wont be traumatic? Animals are animals no matter where they grew up, it is traumatic taking sea life out of the sea. Same goes for sea stars at Starfish Point….they are meant to be in the water. Please get your facts straight.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Over the years, through the UK, successive Cayman Islands Governments failed to even explore the possibilities of having CITES provisions relaxed in respect of the Cayman Islands as a trade off for signing tax, privacy and other financial-related treaties with the same member nations which are party to CITES conventions. There is now no bargaining power to have any consideration on international trade of farmed turtles.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious? If the tax etc treaties are wrong minded then they should not be signed. If they are appropriate then it is amoral to consider ‘bargaining’ with CITES provisions as a condition of doing the right thing

  10. Anonymous says:

    we eat them. lets keep it at that

  11. Anonymous says:

    WAP needs to get a life. One wonders why, with the large budget and big money backers they have, why they are not doing something to help with the research and conservation of Green Sea turtles.

    • Dubya says:

      What makes you think we don’t?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you don’t because I have looked at your website. The rubbish token actions you brag about there can hardly be considered “conservation”. I see NO other country mentioned on your website besides the Cayman Islands and the Reunion Islands yet many larger countries harvest thousands of Green Sea Turtles each year from the wild and the Cayman Turtle Farm are the only place in the world that only harvest from farm bred and raised turtles, to say nothing about the research that is carried out at CTF.

        If WAP are so concerned about the life of the Green Sea Turtle, why are you not going after the big seafood producing fishing industry. It is a fact that, as a byproduct of the seafood’s industry efforts to put seafood on everyone’s table, that, over 250,000 Green Sea Turtles are killed and thrown back into the sea each year by trolling nets and long line fishing.
        WAP does not even mention that Mexico harvests over 35,000 Green Sea Turtles from the wild each year in order to feed its aristocrats and rich people. There is nothing on your website about this. Is this because they are potential contributors to your $10 million annual budget?

        No, WAP would rather spend its it’s $10,000,000.00 per year budget on their own first class travel and 5 star accommodations while turning a blind eye on the real people that are disseminating the Green Sea Turtle population world wide.

        WAP has NO problem attaching small countries like the Cayman Islands and the CTF, while turning a blind eye to the fact that Mexico kills and eats 35,000 Green Sea Turtles each year to feed it’s aristocrats and rich people.

        As I said before………….WAP, GET A LIFE.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they are not a conservation organization. Their stated goal is to shut down the Turtle Farm. Its not about conservation. Its about their perception of what is or is not acceptable animal husbandry practices. The only reason this is news (to them) is because they can put a ‘close the Farm’ spin on it.

    • pproved? says:

      Does anyone know where all those turtle shells go?

      • Anonymous says:

        I have seen large amounts of turtle shells deposited at the public drop off at the dump. Seems like real shame. If we eat them then why not utilise the entire animal.

      • Anonymous says:

        They are chopped up to make them useless and damaged to the public and dumped on Mount Trashmore every Friday to satisfy conservationists concern that they may be used for any purpose at all.
        A shameful waste of local resources if you ask me …………the turtle is already dead, it is like not using feathers for pillows because they come from dead chickens that have been killed to eat.

  12. Anonymous says:

    – The amusement park side of the turtle farm should be abandoned.
    – It should be run strictly as a farm/research and conservation facility.
    – We should seek to be able to export the meat and the shells internationally.

    • Anonymous says:

      Got no problems with your first two suggestions but I think you’d find it very difficult the export any turtle products even though they are farmed.

    • Anonymous says:

      In principle I agree with you – unequivocally re 1 and 2. 3 is tricky. In an ideal, policeable world then there should perhaps be a place in world trade for humanely produced sustainable animal products as you suggest. The conundrum has always been how to avoid illegal trade alongside the legitimate. As soon as it is theoretically possible to buy turtle shell products legally and they are in limited supply (a they would be if Cayman was +/- the only legal source, then the economics of putting illegal (poached) product onto the open market becomes somewhat more attractive. That is the problem with your last point

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