This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
It is truly sad, but unfortunately not surprising, to hear the latest revelations of animal cruelty at the Cayman Turtle Farm. As reported by the Cayman media this week, in 2014 the Farm lost a total of 1,268 endangered green turtles due to a "mystery illness" over a period of just four months, with an average of ten turtles dying each and every day.
This "mystery illness" was caused by clostridium, a bacteria that makes toxins that are dangerous for humans, leading to botulism, tetanus and even death if they are eaten. Only now, more than 12 months later, is this information publicly available, following a Freedom of Information request by a journalist at The Cayman Compass.
Green turtles are endangered wild animals that are totally unsuited for intensive farming conditions. They are solitary, with a specialized seagrass diet, dive to great depths and swim huge distances in the open ocean. It's no surprise at all that they become stressed with the spread of diseases like clostridium becoming inevitable when you cram hundreds of them into a relatively tiny single tank. In fact, outbreaks such as this have been recorded at the Farm since the 1970s when it was referred to as "floppy flipper" disease.