A monkey in a roadside zoo

Mobilizing municipalities to end roadside zoos in Ontario



It’s been nearly a year since we held a press conference urging the Ontario government to introduce regulations to end roadside zoos once and for all, and we still haven’t received a commitment. However, our campaign is just getting stronger.

We are building a larger coalition than ever before. Together with other animal protection organizations, champions within different political parties and municipalities and animal advocates like yourself, we can compel the government to finally take action to protect wild animals.  

How can municipalities help with the campaign? 

Municipalities play a critical role in helping to amplify the pressure on the provincial government to implement regulations to protect wild animals in captivity. It would be extremely difficult for the government to continue to ignore our campaign if the collective voices of 100+ municipalities are calling for the Province to take ownership of this issue. Municipalities can send a clear message of support by passing our resolution, “Provincial regulations needed to restrict keeping of non-native (“exotic”) wild animals”. 

What is a resolution? 

A resolution is a formal position statement from a municipality regarding an issue they care about. A resolution is typically introduced by a councillor, and then is voted on. If a majority of councillors vote in favour, then the resolution is adopted, which means that the municipality adopts the text in the resolution as their position.  

What does our resolution say? 

Our resolution, “Provincial regulations needed to restrict keeping of non-native (“exotic”) wild animals” addresses the ongoing issue of roadside zoos in Ontario. It highlights: 

  • Why Ontario is the only province in Canada that has a roadside zoo problem. 
  • That roadside zoos are a risk to animal welfare and public health and safety. 
  • That currently, the responsibility to deal with roadside zoos and private ownership of wild animals is downloaded to municipalities despite most not having the expertise or resources to adequately address these issues. 
  • That important Ontario municipal associations agree with our campaign. 

The resolution concludes by calling on the Ontario government to implement provincial regulations to restrict the possession, breeding, and use of non-native (“exotic”) wild animals along with the mandatory licensing of zoos. 

Why is it important for municipalities to adopt this resolution? 

When a municipality adopts our resolution, it will be forwarded to key members of government, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith, and the local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). With each municipality that adopts this resolution, the pressure on the government mounts, making it increasingly difficult for them to ignore the urgent call for change. 

How can I help? 

We are collaborating closely with key municipal associations to encourage as many municipalities as possible to adopt our resolution. Your involvement is crucial - as your local municipal councillor and mayor are more likely to vote in favour of passing this resolution if enough of their constituents demand them to. Our campaign to get 100 municipalities to adopt our resolution will start in April, so stay tuned for more information on how you can help achieve this important milestone in our campaign. 

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Banner photo: Sasha Rink / World Animal Protection

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