Canada: Report highlights need for zoo reform

Problems result of government indifference
2006-09-08

by: Zoocheck

Today, the first in a series of reports about Ontario zoos has been released by wildlife protection organization Zoocheck Canada. The three zoos profiled in the report are the Killman Zoo in Caledonia, Twin Valley Zoo in Brantford and the Lickety Split Ranch and Zoo in London. Both the Killman Zoo and Lickety Split Ranch and Zoo received failing grades, while the Twin Valley Zoo fared better.

According to Rob Laidlaw, Zoocheck Canada director, “This first report shows how bad things are in two out of three zoos surveyed. These zoos represent the tip of the iceberg in this province.”

While the report highlights current conditions in three central Ontario zoos, it also calls on the provincial government to do something about the longstanding zoo animal welfare and safety problems throughout the province that were first brought to their attention nearly 20 years ago.

Ontario has no official policy, rules or regulations governing exotic animal housing and safety in zoos and private wildlife collections, even when highly dangerous species are being kept. Anyone in Ontario can acquire exotic animals, build whatever cages they want and show animals to the public regardless of their experience, expertise or financing.

”This issue was first brought to the attention of the Liberal government back in 1988. They promised new zoo rules in six months. But 20 years later, we’re still waiting. These days, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay claims zoos are the responsibility of Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Monte Kwinter says the opposite. And while they endlessly pass the buck, things remain the same. Years, or even decades, after some of these zoos have opened, they’re just as poor as the day they started,” said Laidlaw.

According to Else Poulsen, the expert who reviewed the three zoos in July, as well as many others in the province in August, “I’ve been involved in the more professional side of the zoo industry for more than 25 years. I was astonished at the state of the zoos in this province. There’s only one reason why things are this bad. No one in the Ontario government thinks the lives of these animals is worth their time. It’s time they did.”

View the REPORT here:

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