Posted by: carlsafina | Monday, January 25 10

Tortoise Trust Web – Walmart turtle abuse

This was just forwarded to me and is sufficiently disturbing that I am posting it in its entirety here.

Please send those letters to Walmart!

—Carl Safina

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TortoiseAid International Action Alert


In many North American Wal-Mart stores, “pet supply” sections have an area where photos and information about animals in need of adoption by loving families are posted.

The Wal-Mart website ( boasts a large “pet section,” offering everything from pet strollers to dog clothing.  In addition, American pet search and adoption services are available through Wal-Mart’s “Very Best Pet Network.” (

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart operates differently in China.  While giving North American customers the impression that Wal-Mart cares about animals, they sell others for slaughter out of the sight of Western customers.

Live turtles and frogs are available for purchase at Chinese Wal-Mart stores.  These animals are slaughtered while fully conscious, to satisfy consumers need for “fresh” food items.

“The last things the turtles see in the Wal-Mart megastore in northern Beijing are bright fluorescent lights, masked shop assistants and, if they crane their necks over the edge of their plastic container, a chalk board offering them for sale at the bargain price of 39,8 yuan (about $5) each.

Once that sum is paid, even their shells cannot protect them. They are whisked off to the in-store slaughter counter, where their necks are cut, their blood is drained and they are bagged and tagged ready for the checkout counter.

According to the shop assistant, a small minority of the 100 turtles sold every day could also expect a brief respite. “A few customers like to take them home alive so they can play with them for a few days before making them into soup,” she said.” (1)

We are saddened and horrified that Wal-Mart would employ such barbaric and inhumane practices.  Many species of turtles have become critically endangered in Asia due to over-collection and human consumption.

Please see the following links for more information regarding the Asian Turtle Crisis:

Please also see a report to the California Department of Fish and Game regarding the sale of live turtles and amphibians in San Francisco, California.

Until Wal-Mart ceases this environmentally and ethically unacceptable practice, we are asking for a world-wide boycott of Wal-Mart, and all Wal-Mart divisions.  These businesses include:

Sam’s Club: USA, Canada:
Amigo Supermarkets:  Puerto Rico:
ASDA:  United Kingdom:
Walmex: (Wal-Mart in Mexico)
George Apparel Stores: United Kingdom

For a complete list of Wal-Mart owned businesses, please go to:,_Inc .

We kindly ask that all individuals, humane organizations and businesses objecting to Wal-Mart’s cruel practices, and who support this boycott and voice your concerns to:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611

You may contact Wal-Mart via e-mail at its corporate web site:

More information will soon follow at our web site.

Annie Lancaster
TortoiseAid International Inc.
Post Office Box 260
Apple Valley, CA  92307-0005 USA


  1. Thank you for alerting the public about Walmart selling turtles in China. I have placed a post on my blog alerting them to read your blog. I included the letter from Tortoise Trust Web. I have been following the Chinese threat and demand for wild turtles for their taste buds. It appears to be getting worse rather than better — now with the help of Walmarts. Thanks again for posting this information. — barbara

  2. I have just written to Walmart headquarters expressing my dismay – to put it mildly that this is happening.
    Also be aware that there is a taste for seahorses in China and other Asian countries as regards to itsmedicinal properties – While trade is prohibited, there is a thriving black market . Check out the seahorse link on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
    Cruelty to living beings is going on world wide.
    Some way must be found to stop it. Unfortunately as long as money is involved it’s a tough go to stop robbing the planet for our own purposes.

    • Yes, all true. That makes it all the more important for us to remain involved and energized.

  3. Go figure, this is yet another of the countless reasons to boycott Walmart (I haven’t given them a penny in over 5 years). They have a total disregard for the well-being of their employees (horrible health care and not paying a living wage puts their employees on welfare). They ruthlessly destroy small towns by putting every other merchant out of business and then have the audacity to demand tax subsidies from the helpless little towns who now have just one store. Walmart is one of the worst companies on the planet and they will only make changes if there’s an overwhelming financial motivation to do so. I sincerely hope their policy of animal cruelty will bring a tirade to their door. Do the big animal rights groups know about this?

    • i agree. and based on your last question i’ll contact my friends who run the Humane Society of the United States and ask them.


  4. Dr. Safina, No offense to the tender-hearted….but: Turtles are food for some…..Period. We have a strange tendency to point at The Evil Others …and pretend we (are standing on some sort of moral “high ground….We pretend we (in the US, UK and EU) don’t brutally slaughter millions of living (fully aware) fellow-mammals every day, all day, 365 days a year. How many Mexican families have our myopic laws turned into criminals “poachers”…for harvesting their ancestral food (turtles)? I love my fellow creatures….but am also living with my eyes open.

    • Lowell, that would be fine, and i’d agree with you, if the wildlife could support it. in the cases you mention, it can’t. Turtles are essentially gone from much of southeast Asia because everyone eats them or ships them to China, which is a bottomless appetite for wildlife. So much so that recently several people were convicted on Long Island, New York, for catching turtles—and shipping them to China.

      It’s not about moral high ground, it’s about demolition.

      Same in Mexico; turtle taking was so thorough that leatherbacks declined 99% in 20 years and olive ridley turtles were on the way out too. The protection there has stabilized the turtles. That can bring tourists, long-term.

      Since you have your eyes open, take a good look around.

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