March 12, 2008

'Roadside Zoos Hopefully Coming to an End' Or 'Hopefully, This is Only the Beginning'

I can't say it enough that most, if not all, roadside zoos in Ontario need to be shut down, immediately. And it finally looks like the Ontario Liberals are going to crackdown on these grotesque excuses for entertainment.

The legislation, aimed at overhauling a 90-year-old law, is expected to set standards of care for small zoos and give the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the right to inspect the operations, The Canadian Press has learned.

Definitely, this is long overdue. The current legislation was put in place 90 years ago, a lot has been learned since then in regards to animals' care, biology, needs, etc. To know just how appalling things are in some of Ontario's roadside zoos, go here. It's scary, sad and disgusting that people are willing to do this to animals that are biologically disposed to create territories that are vast or are social and/or pack animals and then argue, as the owner of the deplorable Lickety-Split Ranch and Zoo in London, Ontario did,

"Check your facts and do your research and you'll see there's nothing wrong."

Remember, this is coming from a woman that created an international firestorm over her housing and treatment of a red kangaroo. At one point, the Australian Environment Minister was calling for an official investigation into the situation. My response to owner Shirley McElroy is simply this: I've read the research on kangaroos, though, even a 3 year-old child could see that a tiny cage is no place for the world's largest marsupial.

To see these deplorable 'zoos' shutdown or subject to tough restrictions would be a nice change. The Ontario Liberals should be commended for finally bringing this forward, even if it's long overdue. It's even more encouraging because it is likely to include a section that will penalize people who hurt animals with tougher penalties.

The bill, if passed, will also likely ensure there are tougher consequences for people who abuse animals by making it a provincial offence to hurt an animal, sources said.

Hopefully, this means that there will be meaningful penalties, not just marginal increases of the current penalties, which are a complete joke. When I say 'meaningful' I pretty much mean significant jail time and financial consequences. Animals deserve considerably more respect and recognition as sentient beings in our laws. Something along the lines of Ajax-Pickering MPP Mark Holland's bill C-373, is really where I'm going with this. However, even C-373 isn't complete though it is much better and thorough than bill S-203 (formerly, S-213), which is currently making the rounds in the House and Senate.

Animal rights and welfare is not an area I write about often. Mostly this is mostly due to how easily I get worked up about the subject and find it hard to keep my emotions in check. From where I sit, not just Ontario but all of Canada is completely antiquated when it comes to animal rights and welfare. There is no reason that a country as modern as Canada should still have an archaic outlook on animals and how they are treated. Animals are sentient, at the very least, and given that should be afforded much more respect and protection than they currently receive.


Dan said...

I agree. I hope we begin phasing out Zoos. An owl in a cage. A kangaroo with nowhere to hop. A monkey with nothing to climb. Zero privacy. THIS is what people consider entertainment? Animals as prisoners. It makes me so sick to my stomach - it's brainwashing. We are brainwashed (somehow) to think imprisoned animals are entertaining. It's so sad the way we treat our animals. I'm glad this new law was passed...i only hope it is enforced..

Kyle said...

To be completely honest. I have less concern about zoos that perform research as the main purpose while providing the best care possible to the animals. In these cases, using the animals as attractions is a secondary focus only to help fund the research. I am thinking, in a general way, about the Toronto Zoo. For me any zoo that falls short of what they do should be shutdown. And I also think that the Toronto Zoo rides a fine line in some instances.

It's a great law for Ontario to pass. While I do think it should go further, it's better than nothing and it's long overdue. Unfortunately, humans are on the wrong track of thinking in many areas, but when it comes to animals they are generally not even close to being on the right one.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)