Sea turtle advocates appeal to the Vatican

Did you ever want to write a letter to the Pope, but you didn’t know what to say? Well, here’s your chance. Sea turtle advocates did all the work for you, and they vastly improved your only likely chance of an audience. Your voice will be one of thousands calling upon His Excellency to stop the slaughter of our oceangoing innocents during the Lenten season.

The Baja California Sur environmental group ProPeninsula is engaged in a letter writing campaign to His Excellency Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican asking him to remind Catholics everywhere that sea turtles are not fish.

dorismar.jpgBecause of the common misconception of sea turtles as ‘fish,’ it is estimated that as many as 10,000 endangered green, loggerhead, and olive ridley turtles are taken for feast food each year during Catholic religious holidays. The misguided tradition of eating turtles for Lent is stronger in Mexico that other places, like Brazil for instance.

The fervor for turtle eggs is bolstered by rumours of libido enhancement. The poster at left is part of an environmental campaign by Wildcoast targeting the practice. The series features Argentine supermodelo Dorismar saying “My man doesn’t need turtle eggs.” The Bipolar View features a nice article on the campaign.

Here’s the letter below, forwarded by J. Nichols at the Ocean Conservancy.

Help stop sea turtle consumption during Lent
(en espanol:

For centuries, sea turtles have been used as feast food throughout Latin America during Catholic celebrations such as Semana Santa. During Easter or the Lenten season, traditional Catholic rules prohibit the consumption of ‘meat’, yet allow food such as ‘fish’ and other types of seafood to be eaten as a substitute…
Although sea turtles do live in the sea, they are actually reptiles related to tortoises, lizards, and even dinosaurs; they are not fish, invertebrates, or crustaceans, and do have ‘red’ meat. This spring, we are raising awareness about the threats sea turtles face, and encouraging people to abstain from consuming sea turtle meat, particularly during the lenten season and holy week.

We are asking for your help in this effort. Send a letter to the Vatican today. If key religious figures, and hopefully the Pope himself, become more informed of the great damage being done to sea turtle populations during Lent and Easter, they may be motivated to use their power and influence to help save these endangered creatures. If you would like to help us in our cause, please click on the link below to send a letter to the Vatican. (

Because of the common misconception of sea turtles as ‘fish,’ it is estimated that as many as 10,000 endangered green, loggerhead, and olive ridley turtles are taken for feast food each year during Catholic religious holidays. Other species, such as leatherbacks, are also at risk as their eggs are poached in massive quantities throughout Latin America.

Sea turtles have been swimming the ocean for millions of years, but are now facing a real threat of extinction. Currently, all seven species of sea turtles are either endangered or critically endangered, and for some populations there are so few that their status is simply unknown. These species are slow growing and long lived, thus making populations extremely vulnerable to massive declines. For sea turtles, each and every individual makes a difference for the future of the entire species. They are the indicators of our ocean’s health and we depend upon the ocean for our own existence. Thus, if these ancient species vanish during our lifetime, our future is likely just as bleak.

For a report with background information on this issue visit:

Thank you for your support.

12 Replies to “Sea turtle advocates appeal to the Vatican”

  1. And it’s “supermodelo”, btw, despite being female. Or, in this case, “cosita rica”, “m’hijita”, “mamacita”… :-)
    No turtle eggs this Semana Santa: I’ll do whatever she wants!

  2. appealing to the Pope is MUCH more fun and wholesome than working with a supermodel to appeal to men’s desire for aphrodesiacs in the form of endangered sea turtle eggs. isn’t it?

  3. I was always under the impression that the rule was cold-blooded animals were okay during Lent. Eating amphibians and reptiles never came up in my experience, though.

  4. This letter is NOT going to the Pope, as stated in my return email. It is going to the Holy See and directs you to a site which does have the Pope’s email address.

  5. blondie, et al

    the letter goes to the pope, the vatican science office and the us embassy at the holy see

    the email to the holy see cortiously directs you to the vatican website in case you have made a mistake (which you haven’t)

  6. Ocean animals need our protection. Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not in peril. Sea Shepherd Society…do you know about the plight of the turtles?

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