East End Ostrich farm won’t fly

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Plans for an ostrich farm in the East End won’t get off the ground after the project ruffled feathers among neighboring residents. 

Entrepreneur Gregg Anderson wanted to raise and farm ostriches for meat at a 16-acre site off Farm Road. He also had plans to turn the site into a tourist attraction. 

The Central Planning Authority turned down his application to fence off his land for farming ostriches after hearing a slew of complaints from residents about potential noise pollution, disease and danger of physical harm from the birds. 

One resident wrote: “A male ostrich roars like a lion. Some ostriches are aggressive and with their kick can kill a lion, so I know they can kill humans.” 

Another complained that, with plans already approved for a race track and a shooting range, the East End was being subjected to too much development. 

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“An International race track, a shooting range, potential wind turbines, suggestions of a landfill and now an ostrich farm. Certainly, as a property owner in the area I cannot do like the ostrich and bury my head in the sand and accept this as well.” 

The Department of Agriculture issues an extensive list of guidelines that must be complied with, but raised no specific objections to the project, according to the minutes of the Nov. 27 meeting of the planning authority. The board also heard from the Department of Environment, Water Authority and National Roads Authority, none of which raised objections that would have blocked the project. 

But the complaints of the residents ultimately blocked the project; the authority refused permission “based on the concerns raised by the objectors.” 

Mr. Anderson provided point by point responses to the residents’ concerns in a series of letters filed with the minutes. He said the fencing was designed to ensure the ostriches could not escape, and procedures were in place to safely capture any birds that did somehow manage to breach the farm perimeter. 

He said the ostriches raised on domestic farms were not comparable to those in the “wilds of Africa” and were not typically dangerous to humans.  

“There has been ‘NO’ reported case of ostrich killing a human,” he wrote. 

He added that the Department of Agriculture had protocols in place to regulate the importation of eggs and chicks to ensure no new diseases were brought to the island. 

He said the ostrich male boom, which it makes during mating season, was “no louder than a dog’s bark.” He said there were no residences near the proposed site for the farm and urged the planning authority to consider research and experience over the speculation of objectors. 

He said the Agriculture Department had identified ostrich meat as having a viable market in the Cayman Islands and devised an extensive list of protocols to be complied with. 

“The farm would like to educate folks on the ostrich and in addition supply a very lean, healthy red meat to island and as well offer quality leather goods for all to purchase.” 

The application was refused and Mr. Anderson was reminded of his right to appeal. 

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Plans for an ostrich farm in the East End have been rejected by the Central Planning Authority.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. No ostrich farm because an ostrich can kill a human… hmmm. What about a shooting range? Guns? Really, wouldn’t it help the Cayman economy a little with worldwide exports (meat and leather)? The country spends millions raising turtles for small, limited consumption, why not try something on a larger, global scale? I love the old turtle farm and wish I could own a shell but I’ll settle for ostrich boots.

  2. There are more pressing animal-related issues on Cayman. How about providing a proper environment for the Humane Society? The Society needs the islands attention now. The animals need new facilities, DRY facilities and animals on the island desperately need restricted breeding and leash laws. Let’s concentrate on ongoing problems, instead of creating nebulous ones. Ostrich huh!

  3. Yes, a more pressing need than another sustainable source of food. I expect during a crisis we could throw a cat or a dog on the barby. What an excellent addition to our sustainable economy that farm would be. Planning your view of the big picture have us racing down the strip burning up a costly non renewable energy, and practicing to shoot as a priority over an additional source of home grown food. Cayman! There is something wrong with that kind of thinking. All assessments points to the need for a sustainable economy, and government lease out crown land for a race track, and turns down plans for a meat production farm. Beam me up, Scotty!

  4. Neophobia – an irrational fear of new things or experiences.

    Seems to me that in the absence of the racetrack and gun range, few of the objections would have been as vocal – the objections being about the total development load rather than anything specific pertaining to development in question.

    If the order of the planning submissions were reversed, would the gun range or racetrack have been rejected on the basis of noise, or the fact that escaped bullets or out-of-control cars which got through the fence could be dangerous.

    I doubt that an ostrich farm will generate as much traffic as either of the other two.

    The poorer quality Cayman agricultural land would seem to be ideally suited to a bird at home on the arid African savannah.

    As to whether it would be commercially viable, only time would tell, but that is no-one else’s business but Mr Anderson. But given that none of the experts or government departments had a problem…

    I wonder how many jobs it would have generated erecting and maintaining the fences?

    I do have one major problem with ostrich farming – one Christmas the family had a 30 pound turkey… Imagine the nightmare it would be trying to put the stuffing in a 300 pound ostrich instead – and you’d still be having leftovers at Easter!

  5. One resident wrote: A male ostrich roars like a lion. Some ostriches are aggressive and with their kick can kill a lion, so I know they can kill humans.

    Well, this resident obviously did their requisite cursory Google search of ostriches without any real thought involved.

    Last I heard there are local cattle in those parts and last I checked cows make an awful loud mooing sound and a bull could surely kill a human with those horns.

    And how in the world could some commenters object to an ostrich farm on the basis of the turtle farm or the humane society? This isn’t a government proposal to open an expensive farm to breed, raise awareness and promote and endangered or ecologically sensitive species (yeah, we know they are good eating too), and there would be no public funds spent as far as I can tell.

    And, yeah, the Humane Society is in need, but how does that relate at all to Mr. Anderson’s plans? Are you suggesting any other activity relating to animals that you deem less pressing should be barred until the HS is fixed? How about we shut down the local cow and pig farms and tell them they should donate their time and money to the Humane Society? For all you know, Mr. Anderson would have donated a portion of his farming profits to the Humane Society.

    But you know, wouldn’t want East End to get over developed. Probably best to leave it all farmland … oh, wait.

  6. Come on Christoph are you really surprised, the minute this was mentioned people start looking for reasons to put a negative spin on it. This is all about people’s habit of not wanting anything new in thier area especially things that don’t put money in their own pockets.

    I had to laugh at the Ostrich killing Lion comment it’s incredible how people interpret a Youtube video. But I’ve seen stranger things I guess a mouse can kill a cat if he gets the drop on him. Hell little David killed Goliath.

    I’m sure she got the idea from this article ( http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/birds/ostrich-meat.htm ) but failed to mention the fact that the same article states that On farms, ostriches’ small and nonpicky appetite makes them a good investment. They grow faster than cattle on much less food. They reproduce more often than cows, and they sell for a lot more because their meat is considered a delicacy, at least in the United States. In Europe and South Africa, it’s actually pretty common fare and while ostrich meat is poultry, it’s red, not white like most other birds. And this red meat, which looks and tastes much like beef, is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than not only beef, but also white meats like chicken and turkey.

    So yeah I agree that this was another missed opportunity that would not have cost the public purse a cent and would have created jobs. It could very well have also been a tourist attraction, I know I would have loved to see them. They are majestic animals and amazing to look at.

  7. Funny how the objections of more than half the country didn’t stop the West Bay Road from being bypassed and then subsequently scheduled for massive over development.

    I smell some ostrich sized poop with this decision!