Canada’s Zoo Crisis Exposed on National TV

CTV’s W5 has revealed the widespread suffering, health issues, death, and troubling threats to public safety in Canada’s zoos. On Saturday, November 5, the 30-minute program broadcasted Animal Justice’s shocking undercover footage to the nation.

W5 is Canada’s most-watched current affairs and documentary program, and is helping bring the issue of captive animal suffering into the hearts and minds of Canadians from coast-to-coast.

Animal Justice has released the largest investigation of zoos that has ever been undertaken in Canada. We visited nearly every zoo in Ontario—the roadside zoo capital of the country.

Wild animals deserve to live free, but animals in zoos are confined to unnatural and stressful conditions behind bars. Being locked up in zoo enclosures often causes extreme psychological distress, which is made visible through unnatural, repetitive movements called stereotypies. Stereotypies can include pacing, rocking back and forth, and circling a cage. At nearly every facility we visited, we saw suffering animals exhibiting these behaviours. 

Big cats and other carnivores like wolves and bears often suffer due to lack of space. These creatures have vast ranges in the wild, but in zoos, they often pace back and forth listlessly, with little else to do.

While Canadian zoos have been exposed for appalling conditions, governments and law enforcement authorities continually fail to act. Even in egregious cases of suffering, charges against zoos are rarely laid. That’s why we’re urging the government to swiftly pass the Jane Goodall Act, a groundbreaking Senate bill that would protect captive wildlife. Take action today and show your support.