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Cayman Islands under fire over 'factory farming' of sea turtles

Ecologist

10th January, 2013

The tropical tourist destination is at the centre of a dispute over the farming of green sea turtles after animal welfare campaigners launched a campaign to shut the world's only facility rearing the animals for human consumption

Now the authorities of the British overseas territory and offshore tax haven are under growing pressure to address the situation, as a film published today by the Ecologist reveals.

Grand Cayman is home to the last farm in the world that rears sea turtles for human consumption. As well as supplying meat for domestic consumption, the farm is a major tourist destination, especially for the sizable numbers of cruise ship passengers who visit.  

Campaigners say the estimated 7,000 turtles held at the farm are subjected to 'systematic cruelty, neglect and major animal welfare concerns.'  

Undercover footage shot by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) - and featuring in the film - highlights a side to the turtle farm that they say few visitors would be aware of.

As the film explores, welfare is not the only concern opponents have raised - risks to human health, financial cost and alleged failures in its conservation mandate have also been highlighted.

The cruelty claims are, however, vigorously disputed by the farms management.

Those who run the farm also defend their research and conservation programme, stating the farm is a facility the Cayman Islands 'can be proud of'.

They accuse activists of attempting to undermine the farms revenue base whilst at the same stating they want to work with the farm.

The turtle Farm has been criticised by a number of British MPs, with an Early Day Motion attracting the backing of 65 MPs from across the political spectrum.

Useful links: 

WSPA's Stop Turtle Farming campaign

Cayman Turtle Farm

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