Published on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Carnival under pressure to ditch 'cruel' turtle excursion

A petition has been launched to force Carnival Cruise Lines to stop featuring a 'cruel' turtle attraction in the Cayman Islands.

World Animal Protection has launched a petition urging the cruise giant to put the welfare of endangered sea turtles 'ahead of profit' and stop sending passengers to Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter.

It says the attraction endangers sea turtles by keeping them in 'shocking conditions'.

Cruise holidaymakers go there for the opportunity to take a 'turtle selfie' but are usually unaware of the abuse and suffering the turtles experience, the charity claims.

It says Carnival continues to send tourists there despite repeated requests from the campaign group.

In 2012, the charity said it exposed behind the scenes evidence of more than 5,000 endangered sea turtles in 'overcrowded, unhygienic conditions, fed on an unnatural diet'.

It said the conditions had created abnormal behaviours among the turtles, such as aggression and even cannibalism.

It accused the centre of also breeding turtles to provide turtle meat for people and restaurants across the island.

Neil D'Cruze, senior wildlife advisor at World Animal Protection, said: "The stress and injuries associated with the repeated handling these wild sea turtles by tourists is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes hundreds of sea turtles are crammed into overcrowded shallow tanks out of sight from the tourist view.

"It's really disappointing that Carnival Cruise Lines has failed to provide World Animal Protection with any meaningful action to help protect these sea turtles, which is why we're urging the public to sign a petition asking Carnival to stop fueling this unnecessary cruelty.

"Ultimately we want to see the farm operate as a genuine rehabilitation and education centre, where endangered turtles are properly protected. These wild animals should not be handled by tourists or served up on a tourist plate as a novelty burger."

TravelMole has contacted Carnival Cruise Line for a response.

Picture credit: Michelle de Villiers

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