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Welfare and environmental implications of farmed sea turtles

Arena, P.C., Warwick, C. and Steedman, C. (2014) Welfare and environmental implications of farmed sea turtles. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 27 (2). pp. 309-330.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10806-013-9465-8
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Abstract

Various captivity-related health problems have been described as arising in the farming of sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF). Our study included a desktop review of turtle farming, direct onsite inspection at the CTF, assessment of visual materials and reports provided by investigators from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and a limited analysis of water quality for potential pathogens. In particular, we assessed physical and behavioural condition of animals for signs of stress, injury and disease. During the onsite inspection we identified three distinct signs of physical injury and disease, six distinct signs of abnormal and problematic arousal- and discomfort-related behaviour; and three distinct signs of normal quiescence- and comfort-related behaviour. On evaluation of evidence provided by the WSPA we identified ten distinct signs of physical injury and disease, and management- or genetic-related conditions; six distinct signs of abnormal and problematic arousal- and discomfort-related behaviour; and three distinct signs of normal quiescence- and comfort-related behaviour. We conclude that sea turtles at the CTF manifested important physical and behavioural signs that are indicative of problematic management and captivity-related stress, and the limitations of sea turtle adaptive plasticity in captivity. The problematic physical and behavioural signs, in our view, related to the inherent nature of intensive turtle propagation which in particular involves overt- and crypto-overcrowding and understimulating environments, and an associated failure to meet all the physical, biological and innate behavioural needs of sea turtles.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for University Teaching and Learning
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: 2013 The Authors
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/21993
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