World Animal Protection Report: “Risky Business” – The unregulated exotic pet trade in Canada

Ottawa (October 7, 2019) – On Friday, October 4th, World Animal Protection released its report on the unregulated exotic pet trade in Canada.

“The content of this report confirms the need for legislation requiring Canadian Accreditation for the ownership of exotic species,” said Dr. Susan Shafer. “Without strict regulations and measures at the Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels, animal welfare will continue to suffer, public health and safety will remain a growing concern, and the negative impacts some invasive species have on our natural environment will continue.”

Zoological facilities accredited by CAZA are required to meet CAZA’s standards and are held to strict ethics and compliance measures. There are significant threats to owners, the general public and to the animals when the public owns exotic species. When individuals realize the cost of owning, and how difficult it is to properly care for an exotic animal (veterinary, nutrition, environment, enrichment), they turn to an accredited zoo or aquarium to try to re-home the animal. Many times the accredited facility cannot take the animal due to space, availability or veterinary concerns; these animals then end-up in a sub-standard zoo or being euthanized. The operation of roadside zoos places a tremendous amount of strain on municipal governments and animal shelters.

If regulations were in place that a zoo or aquarium must be a CAZA accredited facility in order to operate, animals would not be legally allowed to be brought into the country by individuals, the needless suffering of the animals would be reduced, and the risk posed to the public could be eliminated.

Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards development organization in Canada.  Our standards development process includes expert opinion from researchers, biologists, 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 for zoological facilities in the country.  Out of hundreds of zoos in Canada, only 29 have received CAZA accreditation through independent inspection.

For More Information:

Dr. Susan Shafer, Executive Director
Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA)
613-627-3779 ext. 221



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