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Statement from Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums on the announcement of a New Brunswick exotic animal Task Force

This is a statement from Massimo Bergamini, Executive Director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), in reaction to today’s announcement by the New Brunswick government of a Task Force to examine the province’s exotic animal rules.

“Today our thoughts are with the family of Connor and Noah Barthe. We sincerely hope that the news of the conclusion of the RCMP investigation into the tragedy that took their two boys will help bring some closure.

We believe that the Government of New Brunswick, and particularly Natural Resources Minister Robichaud, along with legislators from both parties should be applauded for the leadership and commitment they have shown from the very outset.

The creation of the Task Force, headed by Moncton Magnetic Hill Zoo director Bruce Dougan, a respected professional with many years experience in the field, puts New Brunswick ahead of most other provinces in addressing the many issues related to the keeping of exotic animals.

But the real test of this process will be in the latitude the Task Force is given to do its job.

We believe it needs to be given the mandate and the resources to examine what other jurisdictions are doing to find best practices that New Brunswick can emulate, but also mistakes it should not repeat.

It needs to be allowed to consult with the province’s municipal governments because they will continue to be on the front lines of these issues regardless of the changes to existing policies. It needs to explore what role the federal government can play in addressing these issues.

And finally, it needs to be given the time to do its job properly. Its goal should be not only to fix what’s broken in New Brunswick but to show the way for other jurisdictions.

The Government of New Brunswick could not have chosen a more appropriate way to remember Connor and Noah than by taking steps – as it has today – to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again”.

SOURCE Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)

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