Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turtle soup anyone?

This is not really turtle soup, but turtle fat in an old sea turtle shell, that was over 2 feet (60 cm) across. A man sold tablespoons of the fat at the Otavalo market in Ecuador as a medicine. It looks like he didn't have many customers that day. It is sad to see how turtles are killed just for this and ground up or melted to be eaten and used for ethnomedicine that has no scientific basis.

Apparently sea turtle fat is commonly used in Africa:
"Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) fat is almost exclusively used in preparations and up to forty litres of oil can be extracted from a dead adult turtle exposed to full sunlight. It is used, either pure or mixed with honey, to treat convulsions and malaria (Togo), fever, fainting spells, liver problems and tetanus (Benin), as well as to induce vomiting (Togo, Bénin)."
"According to Togolese coastal villagers, bones of sea turtles are effective for the skeletal and muscular growth of children. Therefore, some mothers add turtle bones daily to the baby’s bath water; it is believed that the power of the turtle (especially the leatherback) on the nesting beach, will be transmitted to the child through this practice (Segniagbeto 2004)."

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