Petition calls for rules to govern zoos, aquariums
TORONTO—Premier Dalton McGuinty says he expects the Ontario government will eventually move to regulate zoos and aquariums, but not right away.
Some former employees of Marineland in Niagara Falls delivered a petition with 77,000 names to the legislature today urging the government to take immediate action to regulate zoos.
But the premier said he wants to wait until the Society for the Protection of Animals completes its investigation and makes recommendations.
Phil Demers, a former animal trainer at Marineland, says he still wants to protect the animals from poor conditions at the park.
Demers said his heart is still breaking after watching dolphins swimming with their eyes squeezed shut because their water filtration system had broken down and was not repaired.
Jim Hammond said he quit after 11 years at Marineland because he could no longer bear to see animals not being properly cared for and housed in inappropriate settings.
Marineland said it won’t comment on the allegations until the SPCA and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums have released the results of their inspections.
But the head of the park’s veterinary services has previously denied the allegations saying the animals receive quality care.
Zoocheck Canada said anyone can open a zoo or aquarium in Ontario without facing regulations or standards to protect the animals or the staff.
It said zoos can even import tigers or cobras into the province without any permits.