Ontario Must Create Legislation Governing Zoos

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A southern Ontario roadside zoo has come under fire from animal welfare advocates after a damning video released in August 2017 appears to show several of its animals in deep distress, pacing and rocking in small enclosed environments, and being roughly handled by staff members.

Footage from the video shows workers allegedly using violence to control sheep, separating a young cougar from its mother, talking about hitting a lion and forcing raccoons to bare their teeth for a photo shoot.

Papanack Zoo did not respond to requests for comment on the footage, which appears to show a staff member — allegedly senior management — admitting to hitting a lion cub in the face and pulling baby animals away from their mothers. These young animals are used as props in selfies. Another staffer, featured on the video, said that several Père David deers, which are now extinct in the wild, broke their necks at the zoo after running into the fence of their enclosure.

It was not the first time the zoo has been criticized publicly — in February 2016, the company drew fire after shooting a 300-pound white lion that had escaped from the facility. Zoo owners at the time maintained that it would have been too risky to tranquilize the animal. In the end, Papanack issued a statement blaming the lion's escape on "human error," as it ended up in an unfenced park entrance.

Animal rights activists have criticized the province for being the "roadside zoo capital" of Canada.The Papanack Zoo shows the worst of human behaviour in their relationship with animals. It is animal abuse for financial profit. There is little or no regard for animal welfare. Appalling

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