Report confirms CTF woes
(CNS): The Cayman Turtle Farm was the subject of questions for both Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly on her trip to London and Tourism Minister Cline Glidden on his trip to Florida this week, in the wake of an the independent report that confirmed some of the findings of research conducted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Glidden has said that the farm has begun to address some of the problems found in the report, including skin diseases and emaciation. However, according to the premier, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is taking a neutral position on the farm, maintaining that it is a “domestic issue” for CIG to deal with.
In the independent report released Friday morning, the panel concluded that there were “no significant issues of concern regarding the public facing aspect of the operation” but on the production side there was room for improvement in standards of care that required immediate changes in the infrastructure, processes, staffing and resources.
Skin lesions and mortality levels in younger age classes were highlighted by the report and the panel said that the farm should immediately implement additional intensive treatment and management of all animals with lesions based on best available information, euthanasia of animals with poor prognosis, and undertake veterinary pathological investigations of dead animals. The panel of researchers raised concerns that similar recommendations had been made in the past but have not been acted upon.
The researchers stated that there was strong evidence for the positive conservation impact of CTF as it provides meat for Cayman’s national dish while alleviating pressure on the wild population, augmenting the local nesting population with releases and facilitating research and awareness of marine turtle conservation.
The panel recommended that CTF develop a set of short and long-term goals to rectify existing issues and that an independent advisory board be assembled to help support those goals. Given sufficient desire and motivation on behalf of managers and decision makers, the panel said its recommendations were achievable.
Glidden said that the independent report conducted in December had found no significant problems that should concern the cruise lines and he had addressed the issues raised by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association about passenger interaction with the turtles when he met with them last week.
While the turtle farm continues sucking money from the public purse on an annual basis to the tune of almost $10 million, the minister said that carrying out the changes at the farm as recommended by the report would not require additional subsidies from the public purse.
Responding to the report, the CTF said that it was taking the findings seriously but did not indicate why it had not responded in the past, having faced the recommendations before. Managing Director Tim Adam said the board the farm’s management team were committed to taking all possible steps to address the concerns.
“The resulting inspection report notes that the Cayman Turtle Farm makes several important positive contributions to the conservation of and research on green sea turtles, while also stating areas of concern requiring improvement,” he said.
Adam claimed that the report validated the CTF’s provision of a legal source of turtle meat as a way to assist in the prevention of illegal poaching and had found no evidence of congenital deformities among the population.
The CTF has now recruited of a full-time veterinarian, which Adam said would help fulfill several of the recommendations, such as intensifying the lesion treatment procedures. He added that recent experimental pre-clinical trials conducted by Dr Carlos E. Crocker from St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr Walter Mustin of CTF had led to the development of medication protocols for the treatment of skin lesions
Adam said the Cayman Turtle Farm would do everything in its capabilities to improve the facility, the welfare of the turtles and safety for visitors.
“The Cayman Turtle Farm initiated this inspection and we are pleased that the inspection team noted our courteous, collaborative approach to their requests and questions. We believe that the recommendations of the report will serve to enhance the quality of Cayman Turtle Farm and what we offer,” Adam said.
See report below.
|CTF Inspection Report Final 2012-12-17.pdf||45.38 KB|
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