On 12th October 2022, the World Animal Protection (WAP), an international animal welfare organization, released a report alleging several possible animal welfare concerns at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo, a roadside zoo in Morpeth, Chatham-Kent region, Ontario, Canada. The organisation investigated 11 of the 50 Ontario zoological collections throughout the summer of 2022. Greenview Aviaries Park, which keeps about 450 animals including big cats and primates, was visited on 29th June. The zoo, which had been run by the previous owners for nearly four decades, went up for sale in January, and it was purchased by a Ridgetown family, taking over the property on 1st June.

After their unannounced inspection, investigators from WAP complained to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Inspectorate about standards of care for captive wildlife. They claimed they found unsafe interactions between the public and primates (ring-tailed lemurs), the keeping of primates in undersized enclosures, and standards of care for captive wildlife concerns for the ring-tailed lemurs, tigers, lions, monkeys, and flamingos. The report says that the monkey enclosures were “grossly undersized, dark, minimalistic enclosures housing crab-eating macaques, black-and-brown lemurs, and ring-tailed lemurs.”, and regarding the flamingos, it says that they were “kept in the enclosure without appropriate water features. One flamingo displayed feeding behaviour on dry land, which is abnormal behaviour since flamingos do not feed on dry land. This enclosure does not provide the surface to accommodate natural movement and behaviour.” 

Michèle Hamers, World Animal Protection Campaign Manager, said, “the lack of enforcement of what little regulation exists for these facilities is deeply concerning…This wild-west, patchwork system that has been in place for years just doesn’t work, and we know that – it needs an overhaul to protect the public and captive wildlife.”

Alicia Patten, the new owner of the zoo, said to CK News Today “I just read through that report and I have to say that I don’t disagree with most of it…There should be standards that need to be followed for the best interest of any animal in captivity, as well as for the safety of the public. I just want to defend our zoo by saying that we are, and will continue to make the many changes that need to be made to give these animals the best life possible.”

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“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.