Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) calls for stronger regulatory and enforcement measures

Animal protection officers shut down St-Édouard Zoo, rescuing
more than 100 wild and exotic animals, many without adequate food and water

Ottawa (May 22, 2019) — Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) was both horrified and saddened to learn that exotic animals had to be rescued from the St-Édouard Zoo earlier this week.

“This is clear evidence that points to the critical need for accreditation,” said CAZA Executive Director, Dr. Susan Shafer. “Somebody has to be watching out for these animals.”

According to reports, some animals at the St-Édouard Zoo didn’t have access to adequate food and water and were housed in dilapidated enclosures. Other animals appeared to need veterinary care.

“This not only causes severe distress to the animals, but it also puts the public in danger,” said Dr. Shafer. “Currently, enforcement measures that are applied when situations get dire rather than having the standards in place to prevent such bad situations.”

This continues to highlight the need for stronger regulatory and enforcement measures in Quebec and other provinces to manage exotic animals. Without stricter legislative measures, road-side zoos, very much like the one at St-Édouard,will continue to thrive at the expense of the animals’ safety and well-being, and the safety of people who are not aware of the dangers of interacting with exotic species.

Out of the many zoos operating in Canada, in the province of Quebec, only seven are accredited by CAZA.

“These institutions are CAZA-accredited. They have taken it upon themselves to fill regulatory gaps in the provincial system by voluntarily committing to internationally recognized animal welfare standards rooted in science and ethics,” said Dr. Shafer.

CAZA’s animal welfare standards are being recognized and enforced across other provinces in the country.  Dr. Shafer says she encourages the Government of Quebec to do the same.

Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards development and assessment organization in Canada. Its standards development process includes expert opinion from researchers, biologist, and academia to ensure that our standards reflect the latest in animal welfare research, organizational management, and public safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums, and are currently the only Canadian set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country. Out of hundreds of zoos in Canada, only 29 have received CAZA accreditation through independent inspection. ____________________

Media Contact:

Tania Mercure
Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA)
613-627-3779 ext. 222

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