Editor’s note: This post was originally published with the incorrect title “Damning Footage: Dead Animals Left To Rot At Calgary Zoo.” However, the footage is actually from the GuZoo Animal Farm in Alberta. Our apologies to the Calgary Zoo for any harm this may have caused.
Graphic images and video footage obtained at the GuZoo Animal Farm in Alberta show the deplorable living conditions for the animals living there. This isn’t the first time the facility has been under question, and now it is being subject to an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The video footage and photos were taken over the Canada Day long weekend by an anonymous whistleblower. They were then posted on YouTube by the Council of Concerned Albertans for Animal Welfare and Public Safety (CCAAWPS).
The photos and video show the appalling conditions that the collection of 400 animals who live at GuZoo have had to endure.
CCAAWPS called the most recent insight into conditions at GuZoo “the most damning evidence to date depicting the extremely neglectful and substandard operations at GuZoo, that have always existed and continue to exist.”
The photos and video show filthy cages and food prep areas, food bowls crawling with maggots and a huge pile of garbage complete with the dead bodies of zoo animals and dogs all of which the zoo animals, other dogs and wildlife have access to.
Problems with the zoo and concerns over the welfare of the animals there stretch back to when the zoo was licensed in 1990.
Those concerns range from repeatedly failing to meet permit standards and allowing the public to interact with animals, to multiple citations for illegal possession and trafficking of exotic animals and injuries to both animals and visitors–not to mention the repeated complaints about dirty water, moldy food, sick and injured animals, animals escaping, unexplained deaths, rotting carcasses in cages and inadequate shelter, among other things.
The zoo was finally decommissioned in 2011 following a public outcry and an inspection that was conducted by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) that found multiple issues.
This should have been the end of the matter, but the decision was later reversed by the provincial government and so the zoo remains open.
“It’s shocking, absolutely shocking that these government officials are going to continue to let this place slide,” Julie Woodyer, campaigns director with Zoocheck Canada told the Calgary Herald at the time.
Owner Lynn Gustafson declined to comment about the latest video, but called activists who have been causing problems for the zoo “domestic terrorists” and threatened to close the facility to the public if RCMP doesn’t do something.
Gustafson also apparently tried to justify the numerous dead bodies shown in the footage by saying you might see the same thing if you were to trespass at the Calgary Zoo.
He then admitted that dogs are sometimes killed when homes can’t be found for them.
He also admitted that the food is sometimes infested with maggots, but that it wouldn’t have been fed to the animals. This doesn’t add up however since the food with maggots in it was already in with the animals–although by his logic it maybe doesn’t count if the maggots get in there after the animals are fed.
An SPCA officer investigated the scene last Friday, but didn’t file any charges. CCAAWPS has filed a complaint with the government.
A spokesperson from Alberta Environment told CTV News that they are reviewing the video and will be following up on what they saw. This could lead to warnings, court orders or prosecutions if the zoo is found to have violated Alberta’s Wildlife Act or Animal Protection Act.
For updates and more information on how to help, visit CCAAWPS’ Facebook page.
Below you can see the video footage obtained by the RCMP, but please be advised the footage contains images of a distressing nature:
Photo credit: Thinkstock