Online poll: Few eat turtle frequently

Only 9 per cent of the respondents to last week’s online poll say they eat turtle meat frequently and more than 61 per cent said they either never eat it or used to but no longer do. 

Of the 737 total respondents, the largest segment – 412 people or 55.9 per cent – said they never eat turtle meat. 

“It’s wrong to eat an endangered species!” said one person. 

“Almost as a duty of a visitor to Cayman, I tried it once,” said someone else. “A small piece from a friend’s plate. It was dreadful and I would not want to eat it again.” 

“I don’t, but I’d never condemn someone who wanted to,” said another person.  

“They are endangered, take a long time to grow and they are the mascot of the Cayman Islands,” said one respondent. “And there are still people who eat our mascot! It’s so wrong! There is enough meat you can eat that only takes a few months to grow up before consumption. Stop eating turtles; this is the 21st century.” 

“Why spend $15 for stew turtle when you can get stew beef for $8?” 
asked someone else. 

“If you’re eating turtle, you’re basically frying the goose that laid Cayman’s golden tourist egg,” said another person.  

“Eating meat from the Turtle Farm is cruelty and ignorance dressed up as Caymanian culture,” commented somebody else.  

Another 41 people – 5.6 per cent – said they used to eat turtle meat, but no longer do.  

“I’m not from here, but it’s a Caymanian tradition and we should respect it,” said one person. 

“Earlier generations ate turtle because they had little choice,” said someone else. “Today we have endless choices. Losing $8 million a year to provide turtle meat is the height of stupidity.” 

Sixty-six people – 9 per cent – said they eat turtle frequently.  

“Every Friday,” said one person. “Close the farm and we’ll start eating wild turtles again.”  

“I love it,” said someone else. 

“Turtle is my favourite meat of all time,” commented another person. 

“No one should stop us from eating our turtle meat,” said one respondent. “That’s what Caymanians grow up on.”  

Another large segment of respondents – 117 people or 15.9 per cent – said they eat turtle meat once in a while.  

“It is a delicacy so one should not expect the results of this survey to show turtle as a popular meat,” said one person. “What if you replaced the question with kangaroo? Popular in Australia you know!”  

“Respect my heritage,” said someone else.  

“I eat it during Pirates Week,” said someone else. “I have trouble finding it year round. When we had a farmers’ market, my father and I would eat it every Friday together.”  

“I love turtle stew, but it’s just gotten so expensive that I can’t afford to eat it as often as I would like,” said another person.  

“I grew up eating it. Love it. However, have felt increasingly conflicted about it. And given the revelation of the state of the Turtle Farm and the inhumane conditions there, I could permanently give it up,” said somebody else.  

Ninety-three people – 12.6 per cent – said they rarely eat turtle meat. 

“I can’t afford it now, but that don’t mean we need anyone to tell us to close down our heritage. They need to leave us to hell alone,” said one person. 

“I used to eat it once in a while, but since the price went up a few years ago, I think I’ve only had it twice,” said someone else. “Turtle meat tastes OK if it’s cooked properly and I’m not philosophically opposed to eating it, but truthfully, I could take it or leave it. With what’s come out about the Turtle Farm, I think I’ll be leaving it from now on.” 

Eight people – 1.1 per cent – responded “other” to the question.  

“Once a year,” said one person. 

“I tried it three times but didn’t enjoy it, so I haven’t eaten it since,” said someone else. 

“Eating turtle is our Caymanian heritage and no one should be able to take it away from us,” said another person. “After all, people all around the world farm their food all the time and no one bats an eye. Why can’t we farm turtle for our food?” 

“Whenever I can get it,” commented one person. “I’m Caymanian; it’s tradition.”  


Next week’s poll question 

How often do you talk on your cell phone while driving? 



Quite often  

Whenever I want to – I have a hands-free device. 

Other [write in comments] 


  1. Any Caymanian who say they do not eat turtle meat is because they cannot afford to buy it. Turtle meat is our national dish, it is not curry goat and white rice, neither is it ackee and salt fish.
    We want these people to leave us alone with our turtle farm, because we do not have any complaints about Kentucky or Popye chicken. Suppose we decide that we do not want Popye or Kentucky chicken franchise on the island, do you think they would be happy. I do not think so. Please leave our turtles alone.

  2. Hunter – I don’t eat turtle meat, but I would love to see Popeye’s and KFC leave the island!

    A lot of Scottish people are repulsed at the the thought of Haggis, as a lot of people are repulsed at the thought of turtle meat. At least most of the haggis eaten in Scotland are bred in nice conditions.

    8m a year to subsidise turtle-meat is a lot of cash. As for the person who said they’d then resort to wild turtles, you do that and see what happens to your tourism industry…

  3. Where are the savings coming from to justify 8M of a 640M budget – more than one percent – How many teachers could that employ, Doctors and better Hospitals, etc.

    In the light of the Civil Service cutbacks, how many EXTRA governement employees must lose their jobs to KEEP the turtle farm afloat – It a question of priorities…

    Heritage can still be Heritage whether it’s done today or not – I can celebrate the Whaling heritage of some of my forefathers while still campaigning to protect Whales today.

  4. Fair enough: those who say they eat turtle and would like to continue, should be prepared to pay the true economic price of Cayman supporting the Turtle Farm at the proper ecological and biological levels acceptable internationally. Maybe 100 a kilo, or more?
    Let them put their purses where their stomachs are.

  5. Hunter:
    There is plenty of fish in the sea without hunting turtle. And as I said elsewhere, if you wish to eat turtle, you should be prepared to pay the economic and ecological price for it, not expect the Cayman Treasury and indirectly the rest of Cayman to subsidise you.

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