Help exotic animals in Ontario today!

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Any person can keep almost any kind of exotic animal in Ontario. That needs to be changed.

Dear Minister Jones:

As you know, Ontario has long been a hotbed for the keeping of exotic wild animals in unregulated zoos, animal menageries, mobile zoos and live animal programs and as pets by private individuals. This unchecked proliferation of exotic animals has caused a great deal of animal suffering throughout the years and has put public health and safety at enormous risk. For many years Ontario ranked as Canada’s worst province when it comes to controlling exotic wild animals, a fact that still holds true today.

I am very concerned about this issue, so I was pleased when I learned that Ontario’s new animal welfare legislation, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act, contained provisions allowing for the development of provincial prohibited and restricted animal lists and the creation of regulations governing certain kinds of animal-use activities, such as the keeping of exotic animals.

I urge you to move forward, as quickly as possible, in developing prohibited and restricted animal lists for Ontario, so that private citizens can no longer acquire extremely dangerous animals like lions, tigers, baboons and venomous snakes, or problematic animals like kangaroos, porcupines, foxes and camels that are more appropriately found in professionally operated zoological facilities and not in people’s homes and backyards.

I also urge you to also push forward with tough, comprehensive, new regulations, for zoos and zoo-type facilities that safeguard animal welfare and human health and safety, that prevent unqualified people from starting these businesses and that severely restrict or prohibit traveling wild animal shows, presentations and exhibits.

Thank you for considering my letter.