Bowmanville Zoo, 6 reasons why you stay away from this zoo..
I've been meaning to write this post for sometime now. As someone that takes an active interest in animals and animal rights, Bowmanville Zoo seems to be an organization that I keep reading about for the wrong reasons. Before you read further, you should know that I'm not an "anti-zoo" person. I believe that zoos can encourage respect of our natural world and improve our understanding of our place within this world. At a time when certain species of animals are disappearing every day, zoos may represent the last hope for many critically endangered species.
While researching another post about animal cruelty, I started to realize a very disturbing pattern with regards to the Bowmanville Zoo. The Bowmanville Zoo has been cited on numerous occasions for animal abuse; these are claims that Bowmanville Zoo officials continually deny. At some point, you have to wonder if there is any truth to the allegations.
Here are six issues I have with the Bowmanville Zoo:
- I spoke to one very experienced administrator within an established zoo in North America (who would rather remain unnamed for the purposes of this post) who indicated to me that he wouldn't allow his children within two miles of the popular "elephant trek" at the Bowmanville Zoo. Elephants that are abused are like ticking time bombs. At the best of times, Elephants are unpredictable and dangerous animals that injure and kill many trainers every year. As recently as 2002, an elephant loaned to the Assiniboine Park Zoo by the Bowmanville Zoo injured one of the trainers there. If a trainer can't predict the actions of an elephant, how can you or your child?
- Bowmanville is a private zoo which in my opinion amounts to a guy and some poorly trained staff taking care of wild animals. Private zoos don't adhere to the same standards as public zoos such as the Toronto Zoo. It is also a well known fact that the staff at Bowmanville Zoo aren't trained to the same standard that many public zoo employees are.
- The Bowmanville Zoo consistently receives a failing grade from the the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and is considered to be a poorly run zoo. Issues such as insuffiient room too excercise, inadequate facilities for some of their animals and other issues highlight the main problems at the privately held zoo.
- In a recent incident that received world wide attention. One Bowmanville Zoo lion was kicked in the head during a photo-shoot for a popular magazine cover. Instead of assigning qualified trainers to oversee the lion, the Bowmanville Zoo assigned lower level zoo keepers. As you can see in the video within this post, the outcome was disastrous. The lady (Gitanjali Kolanad) suffered four broken ribs as a result of the incident and it could have been a lot worse.
- It is no secret that one of the co-owners (Michael Hackenberger) of this zoo is verbally abusive to his employees, he's also physically abusive to the animals. Unhappy animals tend to be unpredictable animals.
- Other zoos are reluctant to transfer animals to the Bowmanville Zoo due to allegations of abuse within their facility. If established zoos won't send their animals to Bowmanville Zoo, why would you let your children visit this kind of facility?
Truly, the only reason why the Bowmanville Zoo is allowed to stay open is because it's a privately held zoo. The Toronto Zoo is a public zoo which means that they are held to a much higher standard than a private zoo. The reality is that an animal in Toronto Zoo lives a happier life due to better facilities and better care. In my opinion, there should be provincial and federal laws that hold zoos like The Bowmanville Zoo to a higher standard. A lion living in the Bowmanville Zoo is entitled the same quality of life as a lion in The Toronto Zoo. As of today, that is not the case.
As one of Canada's oldest zoos, the Bowmanville Zoo also represents what is one of the most inadequate zoos for animals in North America. You can take your family there but what are the odds of something going horribly wrong? Do you and your family a favour and take them to a publicly funded zoo like the Toronto Zoo that abides by international and national standards. Visiting a zoo like the Bowmanville Zoo only supports the continued abuse of their animals and more importantly puts you and your family in harm's way.
note: for those that are interested, feel free to download the Kiru Elephants in Captivity Report here. The report details some of the many issues that still exist within the Bowmanville Zoo with regards to their elephants.
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