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Across Canada, thousands of wild animals are suffering in poor conditions and at the hands of people who are unfit and unwilling to care for their needs. Among those animals are 4,000 privately owned lions and tigers, as well as apes, bears, wolves and elephants, to name a few.
What is a roadside zoo?
A roadside zoo is just that, a zoo conveniently located on the side of the road as a quick stop for passing tourists. It’s a money-making scheme that exploits animals for entertainment. They are unaccredited, unregulated and run by people without respect for animals. Conditions are generally horrific, and suffering is rife, with animals living in small, dirty enclosures with no stimulation and food that doesn’t provide what they need.
It’s not just the animals we must worry about, though. They are often dangerous for people, too. Enclosures are often insecure, and many roadside zoos encourage interactions between tourists and their wild animals, making money from the ‘take a selfie with a tiger’ trend. Read more about the issues with animal selfies here.
How will the Jane Goodall Act help?
The Jane Goodall Act (Bill S-241) puts wild animals first by cracking down on the breeding and trading of wild animals and their use in entertainment. It will ban elephant captivity and protect over 800 other species, including great apes, elephants and big cats, as well as marine mammals, wolves and reptiles.
Under the Act, it will be illegal to keep or breed any of the animals listed without a permit. Organisations will need to prove that they meet a set of criteria that address living conditions, use in entertainment, and conservation goals.