A request to bring a wild zoo party to the County has been granted in part pending another extensive staff report.
At its meeting Thursday, the committee of the whole granted Marc Cunningham, of Wild Zoo Parties an exemption to the exotic animal bylaw for educational shows in the County, subject to staff regulations, if any.
Originally, staff had submitted a report denying Cunningham’s request. It explained that while Cunningham has been doing shows for 10 years without incident, staff was anxious about the idea that one of the animals being brought in to the shows would be considered dangerous to humans, or pose a risk to native habitats or agriculture.
The report stated that while staff are not experts on the matter, after reading reports posted in The Canadian Free Press, other municipalities including the City of Toronto, have concerns about mobile zoos and the perceived related health and safety risks to humans, as well as concern for the welfare of the animals.
The report also took issue with how Cunningham’s original deputation did not provide dates, locations or specific details for the proposed education shows.
Tabitha Moore, head of Park Day, Sub-Committee, Hillier Recreation spoke to the committee in favour of granting the temporary exemption request by Wild Zoo Parties as they have been invited to take part in the upcoming Park Day festivities at Medieval Fest, August 13.
“Youth will be invited to learn the global histories of such events and will also be able to understand the survival instincts of species originating in remote parts of the world,” Moore explained. “This is a rare chance for many to understand natural habitat; important protection of habitats around the world and how species have evolved to be one with their environment.”
Local animal rights activists Angela Lammes and Annette McIntosh were also in attendance speaking out against the shows.
“We are against Wild Zoo Parties because when they say it’s for education it’s not,” said Lammes. “It’s mis-education. It’s negative education. It’s just a business for profit. Mobile zoos are cruel and outdated.”
The matter is expected to come back before council on June 13 for final approval.