Toronto community World Animal Protection describes zoos along the way as being
dangeroussays the province has few rules of its own, and instead chooses to leave management and enforcement of exotic animal ownership to its 444 municipalities, resulting in a patchwork of rules that vary from community to community.
Michèle Hamers, leader of the game campaign at World Animal Protectionexplains that this means that anyone can operate a zoo, regardless of their level of experience or knowledge of potentially dangerous exotic animals, such as lions and tigers.
” Almost anyone with exotic animals can technically operate a zoo, regardless of their qualifications, expertise or financial means. »
Private zoos face few supervisory reviews
As a result, private zoos change hands without much public oversight. The latest example is Greenview aviary, a roadside zoo in Morpeth, Ontario, in Chatham-Kent Township. The plant and its 450 animals went on sale earlier this year for $ 4.5 million.
According to media reports, the plant was purchased in the spring by Rob and Alicia Patten. CBC News tried to contact the new owners through the zoo itself, but had not received a response at the time of publication.
The private zoo is one of three in southwestern Ontario that houses lions and tigers, all within an hour of London. The others are Killman Zoo in Caledonia and Twin Valley Nature Park in Brantford.
Michèle Hamers said that because Ontario has few standards for keeping exotic wildlife, it is important that families who want to show their children these animals up close choose facilities that are accredited by the Canadian Association of Wildlife. zoos and aquariums (CAZA).
CAZA-accredited companies typically state this on their website. So it’s the easiest way to find out if it’s accreditedshe points out.
She adds that one of the best ways to tell if a zoo along the road treats its animals properly is the attention the facility places on designing an enclosure that focuses on the animal’s needs, including space to move. around.
Most of them keep animals in small cages, bad conditions and a little thought that the animal is kept in captivity. Everything is organized and created so that people can see the animals.
Change the attitude of the public
Visiting these private zoos, especially those that allow patrons to interact with and touch the animals, raises a number of ethical questions about the treatment of their menageries, says Kendra Coulter, Chancellor of Expertise in Research at Brock University and a fellow from Oxford. Center for Animal Ethics.
Kendra Coulter points to the case of Marineland, a private zoo in Niagara Falls that is currently accused of using dolphins and whales in captivity for entertainment without a provincial permit.
She said the fact that the park is facing unprecedented public scrutiny illustrates how attitudes change when it comes to the idea of zoos and animals in captivity, and whether it is morally right.
New scientific knowledge about animal behavior, including a new understanding of animals’ mental and intellectual abilities and social needs and desires, is changing the way we look at animals in captivity, she says.
” I think people are increasingly asking this basic question, even though there is an accreditation standard: “Is it ethical for us to keep wild animals in small numbers in very small territories and grounds for our own entertainment?” »
As another option, families may choose to visit animal shelters, such as Donkey Sanctuary in Canada in Puslinch, Ontario, where the animals are already accustomed to interacting with humans, allowing visitors to meet their need to see the animals up close.