Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Deplorable Conditions at Alberta Roadside Zoos

Two Alberta, Canada roadside zoos are being accused of serious violations of animal welfare and are currently under investigation.

(Is there ever a GOOD roadside zoo? These things should be banned as far as I'm concerned.)

Fish and Wildlife officers are looking into allegations of filthy drinking water, rotting carcasses in cages and animals going "insane" from boredom, levelled at Discovery Wildlife Park near Innisfail, and at Guzoo Animal Farm near Three Hills.

"The reports are already being sent out to our field staff, who will go through the allegations and respond where needed," said Darcy Whiteside, a spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resources.

But representatives with Zoocheck Canada and the World Society for the Protection of Animals said Wednesday the province is to blame for the deplorable conditions and public safety issues at the attractions.

They blame the government for failing to enforce zoo regulations.

"Each day, the government dwindles on enforcing its own rules," said Melissa Tkachyk, a spokeswoman for the World Society for the Protection of Animals. "Alberta needs to clean up or close down these roadside zoos."

Apparently, Alberta has some of the best zoo regulations in Canada, but it doesn't enforce them. Meanwhile, the accused zoos are calling the same old fouls...those darn people out of Ontario are trying to tell them what to do, goshdarnit!

The zoos' owners defended their attractions Wednesday and said they were tired of responding to "self-proclaimed animal activists out of Ontario."

"We are licensed by the government according to development plans approved by the province," said Lynne Gustafson, who has operated Guzoo for 18 years.

"We can't get a permit if we don't pass inspections."

Meanwhile, there were 50 violations at Discovery Wildlife Park, she said.

But Doug Bos, who owns the facility -- widely known as the place visitors can pay to kiss a bear -- said inspections have become more frequent.

"Things are a lot tighter than they were before," said Bos, who has roughly 100 animals and has been operating for 20 years.

Photo by jomoud.

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