Dozens of protesters swarmed 264th Street in front of Greater Vancouver Zoo on Sunday, waving signs in shape of tombstones, chanting a message for those driving to the 120-acre Aldergrove facility.
“Family fun is no excuse for animal abuse,” they repeated from the mouth of organizer David Isbister with animal advocacy group, Liberate GVZoo Animals.
Their signs listed the names of animals that have died in the zoo’s care. The most recent was an eight-year-old moose, Oakleaf.
Zoo veterinarian Dr. Bruce Burton felt it was best the animal be euthanized Wednesday, July 22 – the day after photos of the animal were posted online by Langley resident Shannon Marcoux.
“We didn’t want to put her through any more procedures and tried every option we could think of,” Burton said, after explaining the moose had leg issues and teeth problems – which he felt contributed to her weight loss and loose stool.
The vet also noted that Oakleaf’s condition had drastically changed since the Monday (July 21) the photo was taken.
Isbister described the moose standing in the photos, ribs showing, as “emaciated.”
“Am I the only person out there who thinks this is unacceptable?” Marcoux posted publicly to Facebook, along with the two images.
The B.C. SPCA is currently investigating the animal’s care, spokesperson Lorie Chortyk confirmed.
“The B.C. SPCA is not the body that decides on animal cruelty charges – that is the authority of Crown counsel. Our role is as an enforcement agency, similar to the police or RCMP, that gathers and presents evidence to Crown counsel for their decision,” Chortyk explained.
Peter Fricker, a Vancouver Humane Society spokesperson, called the photos of the moose “very disturbing.”
“Equally troubling are allegations that animals at the zoo have not been receiving adequate care and that a number have recently died,” Fricker said.
The zoo, in Aldergrove, has a history of being criticized for how it cares for its animals dating back to 2005, when the first of several large species of animals died – for reasons other than old age – in its care.
Fricker added the allegations should be investigated by the B.C. SPCA using independent veterinary experts rather than veterinarians paid by the zoo.
General manager Serge Lussier said he has confidence in Burton’s decisions, but if he were to do it differently, he would have put a sign notifying the public of the animal’s health condition.
“If unfortunate situations like this do arise again, we will put a sign,” Lussier pledged.
Am I the only person out there who thinks this is unacceptable? Took the kids to a local zoo yesterday and saw this poor…