How the Jane Goodall Act will change the lives of wild animals in Canada
Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of wild animals are suffering in cruel entertainment venues and private homes. The Jane Goodall Bill is the first step towards creating a better world for these animals.
Stolen from their natural habitats in the wild, or bred in captivity, these animals are forced to perform unnatural acts for tourists or live in unnatural environments as both entertainers and pets.
Fortunately, the keeping of wild animals in roadside zoos, as pets, and for their use as entertainment is increasingly questioned and debated, even at the highest level of government. A prime example of this is Bill S-241 - the Jane Goodall Act, which was re-introduced by Senator Klyne on March 22, 2022.
If passed, this ground-breaking piece of legislation will end the commercial trade of elephants, great apes, and more than 800 other wild animal species through breeding and acquisition bans and will prohibit the use of them for entertainment.
This bill reflects changes in public attitudes and values about the keeping and use of wild animals in captivity. Additionally, it recognizes the growing body of information on issues around animal welfare, human health and safety and the environment and conservation.
There are many things to be excited about in this bill, but these are our 5 favourites:
1. The Jane Goodall Act will help address the commercial global wildlife trade
When the bill was first introduced back in 2020, it only focused on elephants, great apes, and cetaceans, but now, the bill includes more than 800 wild animal species!
The list is long and includes:
Almost 100 different monkey species, like baboons and gibbons
Almost all bear species
Seals, sea lions, and walruses
Venomous snakes and lizards, crocodiles, and large constrictor snakes.
Once the bill passes, it will also end the commercial trade, breeding, and use of these species for entertainment and exotic pets. Only eligible animal care organizations will be able to keep, breed, and conduct research if it is proven it has conservation benefits or is in the animals’ best interest. These organizations must meet a list of criteria including but not limited to, promoting the welfare of wild animals, supporting their conservation, and providing rehabilitation.
2. The Jane Goodall Act will contribute to the phase-out of roadside zoos in Canada.
Roadside zoos are notorious for having animals like lions, tigers, and monkeys in small, barren cages, with little space to exercise or to fly, swim, dig, or run. These animals, and especially their young, are typically used to attract visitors.
If passed, the Jane Goodall Act would prohibit roadside zoos from breeding or acquiring the species mentioned in the bill. This means that eventually these animals cannot be viewed anymore in these substandard facilities, which in turn can lead to the closure of many roadside zoos.
Photo: World Animal Protection/Emi Kondo
3. Wild animal species in the bill will be protected from being used for entertainment purposes
The use of wild animals for entertainment is something World Animal Protection has campaigned against for a long time, from swimming with dolphins, and elephant rides, to meet and greets with wild animals, cub petting and wildlife selfies, and wild animals used in Mobile Live Animal Programs. These practices are inhumane and can cause severe stress and suffering in the animals who are forced to participate.
If passed the Jane Goodall Bill will help countless wildlife, including phasing out elephant captivity in Canada – protecting 22 captive elephants and ensuring that this is the last generation to suffer.
4. The Jane Goodall Act will protect the animals from being exploited by the exotic pet trade
In 2019, we commissioned a public survey to understand how many wild exotic animals are kept as pets in Canada because this data is not being collected by the government or anyone else.
We estimate that the bill could impact about 195,000 wild animals currently kept as pets across Canada.
5. Canada will become a leader for protecting captive wildlife, and this is only the start
If the Canadian government passes this bill, it will change the lives of so many animals.
This bill builds on the protections currently offered under the Free Willy Bill and can set an example for other nations and regions.
Photo Credit: Bart Van Meele
What happens next with the Bill?
It is still a long way for the bill to get passed, but there is a broad coalition of animal welfare groups, members from industry, and government who are all in support of this piece of legislation.
It will take time, effort, and dedication to get this bill passed, but with the support of our generous donors we will be on the forefront, assisting government champions, mobilizing Canadians, and providing scientific expertise to ensure that this will become legislation.
Your support will help wild animals in Canada
Be a voice for voiceless elephants and wildlife in Canada and around the world by donating now to our June matching campaign for elephants. If you donate $100 by June 30th, it will become $200 so you can have double the impact mobilizing Canadians to urge policymakers to swiftly pass the Jane Goodall Bill into law. You will be phasing out elephant captivity in Canada, while helping 800 other species!