About WSPA's











About WSPA's Campaign

Since 1995, WSPA has been calling for tougher provincial legislation that would force all zoos to operate at a higher standard. Numerous investigative reports have been published revealing the appalling conditions in Ontario’s roadside zoos. Sadly, very little has changed since the findings of the first investigation were publicized. Zoos continue to operate in poor conditions and there are no rules or standards to force them to improve the quality of care and housing they provide to each animal. It has been hard for WSPA to document these conditions year after year but one can only imagine what the animals must endure, imprisoned in these barren, empty cages, day in and day out for the remainder of their lives.



Failing the Grade: A Report on Conditions in Ontario’s Zoos 
In 2005, Dr. Ken Gold, a zoo professional with more than 25 years experience working in some of the world’s best zoological facilities was called upon to assess conditions in 16 Ontario zoos. Based on a list of essential welfare and safety conditions that should ideally be satisfied in every zoo exhibit, the auditor assigned a failing grade to 83% of the exhibits he reviewed. Zoos were assigned an overall pass or fail based on whether a majority of their exhibits passed or failed. Only 4 of the 16 zoos audited passed the test. That so many zoo exhibits should fail to meet essential animal care and public safety conditions is unacceptable.



The State of the Ark: Investigating
Ontario’s Zoos

In 2001, Karen Cowan and Jennifer Long, two consultants with extensive zoo experience working at professionally accredited zoos, examined the conditions of 16 zoos in eastern and southwestern Ontario. Their reports looked at a variety of conditions present at the zoo, including enclosure design, animal health and behaviour, enrichment opportunities provided, and security features. Conditions at three facilities, Lickety Split Ranch in London, Pineridge Zoo in Grand Bend, and Sauble Trails Mini Zoo in Elsinor, were found to be so appalling, it was recommended they be closed. Since this report was released, Sauble Trails became the first zoo in Ontario to ever have it’s license to keep specially protected wildlife in a zoo revoked by the Ministry of Natural Resources.



While Rome Burns..A Report into Conditions in the Zoos of Ontario
In 1997, Dr. Samantha Lindley, an animal behaviourist and veterinarian who has conducted animal welfare audits of zoos and circuses in the UK, examined the conditions of nine roadside zoos. The report documents several areas of concern including: animal suffering; poorly constructed cages and enclosures; inadequate educational programming; little or no participation in legitimate conservation initiatives; and lack of adequate public safety measures.

Zoos in Ontario: An Investigative Report
Dr. John Gripper, a WSPA advisory director and qualified zoo inspectors under the UK’s Zoo Licensing Act, examined the conditions of 18 Ontario zoos. Public criticism of 1000 Islands Zoo and Bellevue Park Zoo following the report led directly to the closure of these two substandard facilities.









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© 2006 World Society for the Protection of Animals