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Cayman Islands to research local consumption of sea turtle meat
Published on January 24, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- The Cayman Islands government and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have held discussions on several key issues carried forward from meetings last year.

It was agreed that turtle meat has huge cultural significance in the Cayman Islands; however, WSPA is concerned that there is a need to consider ways to reduce the promotion of turtle meat to international tourists.

These concerns will be investigated further through research conducted by the Department of Environment and their project partners via Darwin Plus funding made available by the UK Government.

This long-term study will also look into the effectiveness of the turtle-release programme and potential contribution of releases to wild populations of turtles. The future release of farm-raised turtles has been suspended until the findings of the research are available.

In 2012, information revealed as part of an investigation conducted by the WSPA into the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) showed disturbing evidence of animal cruelty and conservation failures, amid fresh revelations of massive debts at the government-funded facility.

Then housing 7,000 endangered sea turtles in what were described as "appalling inadequate conditions," CTF claimed it does so in order to satisfy local demand for turtle meat and to drive conservation.

WSPA’s evidence showed that, as well as being inherently cruel, the farm’s commercial sea turtle farming operation is also a poor and outdated business model, in terms of profit and both its animal husbandry and conservation practices.

The heavily indebted farm has been making an average loss of well over US$11 million a year over the past five years, only surviving so far thanks to extensive government subsidies.

The Cayman Islands government has undertaken to address all appropriate concerns.
 
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