Turtle farm position at odds with premier, say activists
(CNS): The international animal rights group which is campaigning to turn the Cayman Turtle Farm into a conservation attraction has said that the farm management appears to be at odds with the Cayman premier’s position that he was taking the evidence presented about the farm seriously. In a letter sent to the director Tim Adam earlier this month, Dr Neil D'Cruze from the World Society for the Protection of Animals said that the charity was surprised, given the premier’s admission that both he and the farm were taking the evidence of WSPA seriously, that the farm had denied the findings and had continued to ignore the charities concerns and offers of assistance.
In a bid to keep lines of communication open with the CTF, as the campaign to stop the farming of the turtles and develop a world class conservation facility grows, WSPA has again offered to help. The charity admits that it believes there is there is no humane way to commercially produce green sea turtles, and as a result, it says it is seeking the swiftest and most effective way to address the welfare concerns raised in its research through collaboration with the CTF.
“We have gone to great lengths over the last year to gather the required evidence, speak with all of the relevant stakeholders and provide the time required for them to thoroughly consider our proposed collaboration on this issue. As you will know, we have repeatedly said that our strong preference is for resolving the situation co-operatively. I would like to repeat that preferred choice to you today,” D’Cruze writes.
“It is disappointing that that the CTF and Caymanian Government have isolated themselves by refusing to accept that our welfare concerns are genuine and based upon tangible evidence. However, as always, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to determine how we can work together. Indeed as you will be aware, the UK Government are now urging us to work together to reach positive solutions, but we cannot do this unless you enter into dialogue with us.”
In the letter dated 2 November, D'Cruze also asks the farm’s director for more details on the independent review that he has publicly stated the farm will be undertaking sometime next month in response to the damning findings of WSPA. He also asked if the farm would permit the WSPA to participate and share its experience during the review.
“WSPA understands that the CTF is of great importance to the Cayman Islands and many people want to make it a success,” the charity stated. “WSPA believes that the farm can change for the better -- it can become a humane and sustainable operation that meets its conservation aims; is safe for visitors; more economically viable; and a genuine source of pride for the Cayman Islands.”
More than 87,000 people from at least 150 different countries have signed the on-line petition and several other international non-governmental organizations and charities have offered their support to the campaign. WSPA said that there was a strengthening tide of public, academic, and political opinion against the CTF as a consequence of what it uncovered and asked the Farm director to work with them to transition the farm into a conservation facility.
In a damning report last month the WSPA went public with its findings in both the local and international media, which caused a barrage of bad publicity for the Cayman Turtle Farm. The researchers from the internationally respected organization documented a catalogue of problems, from diseases, congenital defects, cannibalism, inhumane treatment and overcrowding.
Since then, the farm has categorically denied the accusations and claim conservation credentials as a result of the research done there. It stated that no complaints have ever been made about inhumane treatment, even though three hundred turtles were left to die in the sun a few weeks ago when a sea pipe leak drained one the holding tanks.
The Turtle Farm absorbs a subsidy from the public purse of as much as $10 million annually since it was redeveloped in 2005. The premier has persistently claimed that the failure of the newer facility is because there should have been a pier in West Bay to bring cruise passengers directly to the farm.
Related article on CNS:
Report slams Turtle Farm
See full WSPA letter to CTF below.
|CTF Letter 02 11 12.pdf||84.05 KB|
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