A visit to the aquarium or zoo could be magical as a child. Heck, for a lot of adults, it can still be magical. Seeing species from all over the world up close is remarkable. Of course, once we realize that they’re confined in unnatural circumstances, displaying neurotic and self-damaging behaviours, and that their incarceration rarely, if ever, plays a role in true conservation of their species in the wild, the magic fades.
Though many documentaries, non-profits, and passionate advocates are showing that zoos and aquariums are not what we once believed them to be, they still exist – and are sometimes quite popular. But from a total lack of regulation and laws in Ontario leading to alleged acts of cruelty, to the politics and ethics of keeping cetaceans in captivity in British Columbia, the fight for the freedom and even the basic welfare of these animals rages on. Animal Justice, a charity that focuses on using legal resources to pass animal legislation, push for the prosecution of animal abusers, and fight for animals in court, is facing two issues currently. In Ontario, allegations of mistreatment at a roadside zoo, and in British Columbia, advocating on behalf of the animals in a court hearing about the Vancouver Aquarium’s right to keep captive cetaceans.
Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice, joined Defender Radio to talk about both of these cases, the need to create precedent, and how whether we’re in the court room or on our mobile devices, we can all play a role in the legal fight for the animals’ freedom.
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