Statement by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) Following the Adoption of Bill 80 by the Ontario Legislature

Statement by CAZA President Clint Wright, following the adoption of Bill 80 by the Ontario Legislature

“With the adoption by the Ontario legislature of Bill 80 which bans the breeding and importation of killer whales, the process moves to a less public but equally important phase: the adoption of standards of care for marine mammals.

CAZA has long advocated that the Government of Ontario address the policy, legislative and regulatory gaps that exist with respect to animals in in human care.

This is why when Minister Naqvi indicated last January that the Government would be introducing enhanced standards of care for marine mammals, we applauded his announcement.

And while we were pleased to have been invited to participate in what had been billed as a technical advisory process, we had concerns with the timelines and scope of the exercise.

As of today, these concerns have not been alleviated.

Absent evidence of a current or imminent marine mammal welfare crisis in this province, we found the timeframe that would see publication of standards of care along with other regulatory instruments by July, as inexplicable as it was unfortunate.

These timelines have resulted in methodological shortcuts where a full examination of the issues and science around the care of marine mammals would be in order. And they precluded a “made in Ontario” solution that would be based on the validation of international best practices.

In order to meet its self-imposed deadline, the government has had to rely heavily on an outdated set of standards developed in the UK in the 1980s and, to the best of our knowledge, not implemented anywhere in the world.

We believe that the determinants of marine mammal health and wellbeing are complex and dynamic and preclude a rigid approach, founded on an outdated and untested model, but rather call for a full scientific assessment of global best practices.

That is why CAZA’s reiterates its call for Ontario to pause this process and appoint an independent, scientific panel to make recommendations for a made in Ontario model of care based on verifiable best practices.”

SOURCE Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)

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