The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is charging the Cayman Turtle Farm with animal cruelty and potential human health risk.
The WSPA said in a statement that a year-long undercover investigation showed thousands of endangered sea turtles being kept in dirty, packed touch tanks. It went to say that “swimming in water filled with their own waste, the turtles fight for food, bite each other and even resort to cannibalism. Many suffer from disease and birth defects, such as injured fins or missing eyes.”
The farm is said to be a tourist attraction and visitors are encouraged to touch and pick up the turtles, according to the WSPA. However, the organization said it had tested and found traces of Salmonella, E. Coli and Vibrio vulnificus in turtle touch tank waters – meaning visitors touching the turtles would be at risk for contracting these diseases and possible spreading them to fellow passengers onboard the cruise ships.
The WSPA said it met with the Cayman Turtle Farm owners in July to discuss its investigation findings and propose a plan to transition the business to a sea turtles rehabilitation and research center. The WSPA said the farm was not willing to change.