Video of animal treatment at Ottawa area zoo sparks protest
A shocking video from an animal rights group appears to show staff at an Ottawa-area zoo bragging about beating animals and using string to open their mouths.
Animal Justice claims the footage was recorded in secret by a whistleblower at Papanack Zoo, a tourist destination that sparked outrage last year after a lion was shot after wandering out of its enclosure.
“I just fucked him in the face five times as hard as I could,” one man said in the video. He seems to remember a training session with a lion cub.
Another clip appears to show a man lifting a sheep off the ground with one hand and then standing above the ground while saying, “How do you love me now b ****.”
The zoo declined to comment officially. However, a person with ties to the zoo told CTV Ottawa that he believed the video had been selectively edited and did not show the 24-hour animal care provided at the facility.
The Ontario SPCA said it was aware of allegations of animal abuse at the Papanack Zoo and was investigating.
In addition to the alleged abuse, Animal Justice accuses the Papanack Zoo of taking baby animals from their mothers so that they can be domesticated, manipulated by the public, and used as “selfie props.”
The group also takes issue with the enclosures where the animals are kept, suggesting that captivity causes “severe psychological distress”.
The video also appears to show individuals coaxing the animals to act aggressively for photo and video cameras pushing them with gloved hands and metal poles. Handlers also appear to use string to hold the jaws of a raccoon and skunk open.
Michele Thorn, a member of the Ottawa League for Animals, joined dozens of protesters gathered outside the zoo on Saturday. She said edited or not, the video speaks for itself.
“It’s pretty stomach churning,” she said. “That’s enough for us to be horrified and say animals are mistreated here. “
Ontario is the only province that does not license or regulate zoos. Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk said it was time for the government to exercise more oversight.
“Public opinion is quickly turning against confining animals for entertainment, but the government continues to leave the animals out in the cold,” she said in a press release.
“Even a barber needs a license to operate in Ontario, but anyone can open a zoo without a license or government oversight. “
With a report from CTV Ottawa Annie Bergeron-Oliver