Greenview Owners Respond to World Animal Protection Report | Spare News
After being listed in World Animal Protection’s new report on roadside zoos in Ontario, local zoo owners are working to make Greenview Aviaries a safe, up-to-date home for animals and guests.
In its ‘Nothing New at the Zoo’ report, World Animal Protection raises concerns about 11 zoos in the province, including Greenview Aviaries in Morpeth. The report says the 11 facilities were selected based on their accessibility, the size and variety of their animal collection, and the lack of formal industry association affiliation or recognition. .
Greenview Aviaries, home to around 450 animals including several big cats, was visited on June 29, 2022, just 28 days after a change in ownership. Zoo owners and staff have not been notified of the visits.
Following the visit, a complaint was lodged with the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Inspectorate, raising concerns about standards of care for captive wildlife and basic standards of care for a variety of animals at the Greenview aviaries.
The charges include the fencing of lion and tiger enclosures failing to meet basic safety standards, including, but not limited to:
-Unsafe interactions between the public and primates (ring-tailed lemurs)
-Keeping primates in undersized enclosures, preventing animals from engaging in their full range of natural behaviors
– Captive wildlife care standards for: ring-tailed lemurs, tigers, lions, monkey enclosures and flamingos
According to a statement from World Animal Protection, the investigation was conducted to highlight a range of perceived existing violations as well as the organization’s work to push the provincial government to develop a compulsory licensing program for all facilities, businesses and institutions housing native and exotic animals. .
“Observations have been documented on factors essential to meeting animal health and welfare and visitor health and safety standards as set out in Ontario Regulation 444/19 standards of care and administrative requirements,” the report said.
The report refers to the monkey enclosures as “grossly undersized, dark, and minimalistic enclosures housing crab-eating macaques, black and brown lemurs, and ring-tailed lemurs.”
World Animal Protection staff also criticized the facility’s flamingo enclosures.
According to World Animal Protection, Ontario is the last major jurisdiction in Canada that has not allowed or restricted the keeping or use of exotic wild animals in captivity. Instead, the responsibility continues to rest with individual municipalities, resulting in a variety of different regulations across the province.
“The lack of enforcement of the little regulation that exists for these facilities is deeply concerning,” said Michèle Hamers, head of the global campaign for animal protection. “This patchwork Old West system that’s been in place for years just doesn’t work, and we know it needs an overhaul to protect the public and captive wildlife.”
The 50-acre property at Greenview Aviaries, which had been under different ownership for many years, was recently purchased by the Patten family in Ridgetown.
According to owner Alicia Patten, the family took over the property on June 1. Although the family has had some experience running their hobby farm, Patten said she is still working on learning the ropes when it comes to caring for exotic animals at the zoo. . In a previous interview with the Ridgetown Independent, Patten said they were making improvements and upgrades to the animal enclosures were of major importance to the family and a top priority.
Since taking over as new owners, Patten said the biggest change she and her husband have worked hard for is the positive change in animal welfare and behavior.
“The animals have a healthier and more balanced diet. We are already getting compliments and you can physically see the animals are calmer,” she said.
In July, Patten said that many positive changes are happening and that many positive changes will continue to happen in the future. She said there are also plans to change the enclosure for the big cats.
“It’s bothered me since I was a kid. It’s too small,” she says. “It’s going to sound like Pride Rock from The Lion King eventually.”
Regarding the World Animal Protection report, Patten reminds readers of the long to-do list that came with the purchase of the zoo.
“We recently had two animal welfare officers, a zoo inspector and a licensed zoo veterinarian do a very lengthy inspection and assess the property and the animals with us,” she said. “At that time we had drawings/plans, a quote and a hired contractor to build new large modern big cat enclosures. We were discouraged at that time from making these enclosures and were asked to refocus our time and money where it’s needed most; for winter housing.
Regarding accusations of not meeting basic safety standards for big cat enclosures, Patten said current big cat enclosures have housed these animals for 39 years without issue.
“There are high fences strung together with an electric fence and a perimeter fence around that. The problem with the ‘guidelines’ for fences and structures is that the requirements are very vague,” Patten said. “I was unable to get answers on specific guidelines and rules for size, height, wire gauge, depth of subsoil, etc. There have been suggestions in place for a few years now for the height and the overhang, what our new structures were, is going to follow.
Patten was reportedly told by inspectors that the standards are currently under discussion and will be amended to the latest AZA standards in the near future.
“We were advised to wait for these new guidelines before building, in order to build with the most recent recommendations and standards. And not having to make changes to new enclosures if we build them now and the requirements change,” she said.
Patten asks the public to keep in mind that they are new zoo owners and the costs of many changes are not publicly funded.
“Every dollar we pulled was given back to the zoo and will continue to be so for many years to come,” Patten said.
Patten wants everyone to know that he is here in the best interests of the animals and will continue to make enclosure modifications on a priority schedule when funding becomes available.
“We will continue to work day and night to make Greenview a beautiful, up-to-date, safe home for the animals in our care and the guests who visit us,” she said.