COULTER, CHANG and CAMPBELL: The truth about exotic animals in Ontario

Kendra Coulter, Chair of the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University, Darren Chang, animal ethics researcher and member of the North American Association for Critical Animal Studies, and Brittany Campbell, Sociology PhD student at Carleton University, co-wrote a piece published in The Toronto Star about the need for provincial laws in Ontario to address the importation, breeding, trade and display of exotic animals.

They write:

“The Netflix ‘shockumentary’ Tiger King has had an unintended but positive outcome in Canada. Its failure to consider the well-being of the animals it portrays is inspiring people to ask important questions about the presence and well-being of exotic animals here. And the reality, much like the reality show, is not a pretty picture.

In Ontario, it’s only illegal to own two kinds of animals: orcas and pit bulls. Research commissioned by World Animal Protection Canada last fall found that nearly 700,000 privately owned exotic animals are kept in this province. This includes thousands of tigers, lions and leopards, as well as monkeys, birds, snakes, alligators, crocodiles and turtles who would normally live in the wild, in other countries. Ontario is the only Canadian province without legislation on exotic animals. 

Instead, the Ontario government downloaded the regulation of exotic animals to the province’s 444 municipalities — back in 2001. These local governments include major cities like Toronto, tiny townships, and everything in between, organizations with significant differences in their budgets, resources and governance goals.

We dug into all of these municipalities’ bylaws to see how many have actually created regulations to govern the importation, ownership and display of exotic animals over the last 19 years.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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