Group Pans UBC’s Plans to Exchange Endangered Sea Turtles with UK Aquarium

VANCOUVER (March 9, 2011) – Today, Stop UBC Animal Research expressed serious concerns about a deal UBC was brokering over seven endangered green sea turtles currently housed at the university. According to a Postmedia news report, “A United Kingdom-based entertainment group, which operates more than 30 aquariums in European countries as well as Sea Life Minnesota, has offered to take UBC’s young turtles in exchange for old or injured turtles reaching the end of their lives.” The news report also noted UBC planned to carry out invasive and ultimately “terminal” experiments on the new arrivals from Britain. Stop UBC Animal Research said it could not support such an arrangement because it would “trade one life for another” and cause stress and trauma for the turtles shipped from abroad.



“While we are encouraged UBC wants to find homes for the seven endangered sea turtles, we cannot support any deal that trades one life for another,” said Brian Vincent of Stop UBC Animal Research.



Last week, a UBC insider tipped off the Vancouver-based animal advocacy group about the university’s plans to kill the highly imperiled turtles, which were obtained from a Cayman Islands turtle farm more than ten years ago. That story was featured on the front page of the Vancouver Sun, picked up by international media, and gained world-wide attention. Stop UBC Animal Research launched a vigorous campaign – that included a global call-in week to UBC officials – to pressure the university to spare the animals.



“It is clear UBC is worried about its public image and is trying to save face with this exchange,” said Vincent. “But shifting the suffering from the turtles at UBC to those from the UK is a deal that is dead in the water for us.”



Stop UBC Animal Research has waged an assertive months’-long effort to expose UBC’s animal research programs, including recent stories about the university’s experiments on monkeys and UBC’s plans to build an animal testing facility at its Okangan campus. To counter the animal activists’ successes, UBC unveiled a slick, new website today – a site Stop UBC Animal Research described as “nothing more than PR puffery.”



“UBC’s new website touting its animal research is a lot like cotton candy. A lot of fluff with little substance,” said Vincent.