Should farm be slammed?

Letter to the Editor

The article titled ‘Animal protection group slams turtle farm’, which appeared in your paper of Monday, 15th October, 2012, and other subsequent articles bring the following thoughts to my mind.  

Should our Turtle Farm be slammed? 

How can we get the free world and more particularly CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and WSPA – the World Society for the Protection of Animals to take a more realistic look at our Turtle Farming Industry?  

Are those organisations not aware that over the many decades every species of animal, poultry and fish would have become extinct due to harvesting for human consumption had there not been commercial farming? Every existing farm was started with stock captured from the wild, – no exceptions.  

That is exactly what we do here in the Cayman Islands at our turtle farm. Why, then is our farmed turtle products to be treated differently by most foreign countries?  

We regularly release quantities of our farm-hatched and partially raised turtles to the wild. Had those turtles been hatched in the wild, the majority of them would have eaten by fish and birds within minutes. Very few would live to maturity.  

As for the health of our turtles, it is quite reasonable to expect that a very small portion will require some form of medical treatment. Do we not think that turtles in the wild do not have health problems? Is there no medical problem with farm raised chickens, turkeys, ducks and even cattle?  

Come on Cayman, let’s get some action at CITES and WSPA. We should file petitions with CITES and WSPA seeking the removal of our farm raised turtles from the endangered list. Alternatively, let us file petitions to the effect that the endangered list should also include all animals, fish, poultry etcetera that is farm-raised. That certainly will draw some attention and consideration for our turtle farming.  

Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner without turkey or barbecue without steaks or ribs? How would our restaurants survive? Not to mention is the delicious meal of whale or porpoise?  

There is no level playing field regarding turtle farming.  


Richard E. Arch 


  1. The problem of the turtle farm is that it has presented itself to the world as a turtle conservation institution instead of a turtle abattoir which Mr Arch views the CTF’s true function.

  2. The main problem with the turtle farm is that it is financially unsustainable, and only survives thanks to a subsidy of 10m a year from Cayman taxpayers. That money could be far better spent in reducing Cayman’s debt, rather than as an inefficient make-work scheme for a few of McKeeva’s constitutents.

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