Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA) today calls on the City of Sault Ste. Marie to put the welfare of the animals at Spruce Haven Nature Park ahead of politics.
If Council decides to close Spruce Haven, we are concerned the only future for many of the animals in question is to be euthanized or sold into Ontario’s unregulated and deplorable black market for exotic animals.
If, however, Council decides to exempt Spruce Haven from its new zoological bylaw, we remain concerned for the future welfare of the animals and for public safety at that facility unless the City requires Spruce Haven Nature Park to operate by the national standards set and monitored by CAZA.
Consistent with our repeated offers which began as early as October 2017, we urge Council to allow CAZA to evaluate the animals at Spruce Haven and provide an independent assessment on what is in the best interest of their welfare. We urge Council to allow CAZA’s operational experts to review the situation with Council and offer recommendations on public safety whatever outcome is decided.
We recognize that Sault Ste. Marie City Council has arrived at this moment due to a current lack of expertise and resources available locally to effectively evaluate, manage and monitor any zoological facilities. But there is a solution. CAZA represents the leading and accredited zoological parks and aquariums in Canada. Out of hundreds of zoos in Canada, only 31 have received accreditation by demonstrating that they can meet CAZA’s standards for animal welfare, learning and engagement, conservation science, governance and public safety. CAZA regularly works with local governments and other animal welfare agencies to provide guidance and assistance on matters relating to the wellbeing of animals in the care of local facilities.
CAZA draws on the expertise of veterinarians, species experts, public safety and administrative experts, scientists and researchers to inspect zoological facilities and assist local governments to create regulations that ensure robust public safety measures and animal welfare measures are in place - with the appropriate enforcement capabilities to impose them.
Our offer to help the City of Sault Ste. Marie – to help the animals at Spruce Haven Nature Park – stands. Please put the animals ahead of politics.