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Scuba_SI

(UK) Tescos selling turtle products

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In my old age i appear to becoming an armchair eco-warrior :rolleyes:

 

I stumbled across this one, maybe it's old news, but it's the first i've heard of it.

 

So not only do they sell you crap fuel which breaks your car, they are also selling live turtles at the food counter!

 

http://www.careforthewild.com/default_deta...mp;section=Home

 

I've always been a sainsbury's boy myself!!

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Well as horrible as this sounds, the general consensus of most policy makers is that everything is a resource. The point is whether they care if it's a sustainable resource. Animals, forests, pollution are all consumable. If it's sustainable, I personally have no trouble with it.

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i can get you some fresh green turtle meat if you like.. :rolleyes:

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n my old age i appear to becoming an armchair eco-warrior. ... So not only do they sell you crap fuel which breaks your car, they are also selling live turtles at the food counter!

 

Not to defend Tesco for anything, but reading through the background materials on the anti-Tesco campaign (such as http://www.tortoisetrust.org/activities/tesco2.htm ), makes it clear that:

 

1. The campaign is really about terrapins (fresh water turtles) farmed for human consumption in China and sold live or fresh-killed in Chinese markets, including Hymall, a chain of supermarkets based in Shanghai that was recently purchased by Tesco. It is not about marine/oceanic turtles, or tortoises.

 

2. The terrapins (not marine turtles) are farmed, not wild. It's not remotely about the sustainability of capture of wild anythings.

 

3. Much of the campaign against Tesco is focused on the ethics of how the terrapins are killed. This is really about the ethics of raising and killing animals for food argument, not about survival or treatment of wild animals

 

I mean no disrespect to the position that it is immoral or unethical to raise or kill animals for food, of course, though I do not share that view. But this isn't really an ecological or environmental issue, in my view.

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Hi Robert, i looked around a bit too after my initial post. I agree it deserves no place on here!

 

I just got all excited when i saw 'china'. I eat most meat produce so i basically just did a post against myself! D'oh.

 

Mods, please delete if you want to prevent it taking up the space on the front page from an unsustainable more worthwhile cause.

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Well, i think there is still an issue with selling a "farmed" turtle when it so easy for others to present poached turtles as farmed. Until there is much tighter controls and better tracking of supply chain, i think this is a potetially dangerous offering. So much food is mislabled as "natural" or "dolphin safe", etc by playing off the good example of one or two good players.

-shawn

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From what I remember from my last visit there, turtles are still farmed in the Cayman Islands for meat and shells. Also Black Coral is openly on sale there too. Both will be confiscated if you try to bring them into the UK despite the turtles being farmed (the Coral clearly isn't) as I believe both are covered by CITES. How can you tell what is sustainably farmed and what is wild caught/grown when it is imported either privately or by a company, without a mass of internationally acceptable paperwork? British supermarkets should have learned by now that even inadvertant selling of a 'controversial' product can rebound badly if the media play it up (which they so often do) so I'm always surprised when they do so. Having just seen a presentation which suggested that the Atlantic Leatherback may only have another 20 years to go, I'm all for banning anything which helps halt any trade which could be subverted and impact on any wild population of turtles/terrapins (lovely little creatures).

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Shawnh, pgk: I'm not sure exactly what to say in response to your posts, except to repeat that as far as I can tell, the is about farmed freshwater terrapins, which are not wild, not endangered, and are not marine turtles.

 

Some fresh water terrapins that are endangered - the very distinctive Chesapeake terrapin (US) is one. There are also endangered Asian terrapin species, and some of these have been exported to China. However, there is no evidence on the web site Scuba_SI posted (nor any of the other sites that I could find) that the turtles that are being sold in China by a Shanghai supermarket chain owned by Tesco are anything other than Pelodiscus sinensis, a common turtle that is widely raised in ponds in China, Vietnam and Thailand for food.

 

CITES is involved in monitoring China's production, import and export of turtles (marine), tortoises, and terrapins, and apparently there are signs that China is doing a better job of controlling the trade in endangered chelonians, though that's not necessarily saying much. In any case, I think it's unlikely that you or anyone else could ever confuse a farmed terrapin with an oceanic turtle.

 

There is useful information at:

 

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/turtles.htm

 

and

 

http://www.conservation.org/ImageCache/new...rofiles0503.pdf

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Robert

 

I accept what you say and have no argument with it BUT. In the UK there is a very big current news story about the fact that the UK imports millions of factory farmed eggs which have been mis-sold as free range eggs - presumably by at least some supermarkets amongst others. Given that we can't even be sure that our eggs are correctly labelled (the price difference is substantial) I'd be wary of any foodstuff that could come from a source that can't be absolutely established (the Co-operative group lead the way for food labelling and fair trade products in the UK). As for species - take a look at a tin of crab meat, again in the UK the Edible Crab (Cancer pagurus) is the one generally eaten, but if you look on tins in most British supermarket, they rarely specify what they contain as far as species and I have my suspicions....

 

As I said before, the media can/do hype stories and if I were in charge of buying for Tesco I'd be very wary of supplying anything (especially cuddly little terrapins!!!) with the potential to make up a news story after all the others which have gone before.

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Robert,

My point is that consuming turtles which have been exploited significantly throughout the world can have unanticipated consequences. In Asia, many fresh water tutles are highly endangered. I believe that farm raising turtles in Caymans and freshwater turtles in the UK is not a good idea. It lowers peoples thresholds of concern for the species and thereby their efforts to protect these species. Also, it is quite easy for ABC company to set up shop selling the same "certified" product but theirs is poached. Consumers will not have a clue.

 

Even with farming, Cayman turtles are under great threat. How do you know if that turtle soup is farm raised or from a fisherman turning a quick buck. If everyone is serving it as "farm raised" does anyone care to look or ask?

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This article highlights exactly the concern around turtle farming and its detrimental impact on wild turtles.

"the rapid expansion of commercial turtle farming is continuing to place China's native species at risk of extinction, some experts say...Turtle farmers buy wild-caught turtles to improve their breeding stock," Parham explained. "There is a belief that wild turtles breed better in captivity than captive-born turtles...some farms are primarily illegal laundering operations that sell wild-caught turtles as "farm raised."

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/03/070323

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