It is Finally A Victory: Petting Zoo Will Close on January 2, 2011
In spite of a misleading information campaign by pro zoo folks, the Vancouver Parks Board has decided to finally close the Stanley Park “Farmyard”. They will stop perpetuating the petting zoo industry cycle of abuse. The Parks Board will get out of this last zoo animal business.
It was claimed by the lead animal attendant, Shirley Schebel, “They’re our babies, all of them. Most of these animals have been born and raised here. This is their home. They don’t know anything else.” (Vancouver Sun, November 29. The pro zoo people continuously repeated this and said that animal families should not be broken up.
However, Lifeforce obtained the STANLEY PARK CHILDREN’S FARMYARD LIST OF ACQUISITIONS & DISPOSITIONS. The “homes” are not forever and many “families” are broken up. In addition, according to staff, there are ““no specific written or oral agreements” to prevent animal abuses when they are disposed of.
Animals can be sold, traded and given away for free – to an uncertain fate! During 2000 – 2009 the “Farmyard” acquired 42 animals plus six bunnies in 2008 that were not on the inventory list provided to Lifeforce. They disposed of 65 animals. That is at least 113 animals. That is a lot of animal trafficking.
During November to December 2009, Ms. Schebel told the Vancouver Sun that there were approximately 150 and the “farmyard” staffer Elizabeth Wilkins wrote “We do know how many animals we have.” Her list totalled 135 but she did not list some cats, cows, turkeys and pigs. And I guess the actual number re: “small amount of mice” didn’t matter since they are the live snake food. There is no accurate accounting.
Even thoughMs. Schebel had been at the “farmyard” for 22 years the Parks Board staff would not provide the animal inventories from 1990 to 2000. I was told that staff at that time were gone.
It was in 1988 when I told the Commissioners of wanton animal abuse at the Fraser Valley Auction (FVA) where the Park Board sold the petting zoo animals. The Board said that the sale would be stopped. In 2008 Lifeforce did a year-long investigation of FVA and found numerous sick, injured, abused, dying and dead animals. Our report is called, “Selling Lives” http://lifeforcefoundation.org/files/FVAFINALJUNE08.pdf
This petting zoo continued to do business with a petting zoo business and breeder that sells animals to FVA. Albert Anderson (Aldor Acres) received 1 Barbados sheep (2002) and 9 Chickens (2000). The zoo received 6 bunnies from him in 2008 (the ones not reported in the Inventory).
There never were a happy family of animals at the zoo. There were no contracts to guarantee retirement homes. How many ended up at the auction where unwanted farm animals are disposed of? How many were abuse? How many ended up on a dinner plate?
Lifeforce will be in contact with the Parks Board to make sure:
1. Written agreements will guarantee that all of the animals will be provided with humane, permanent retirement homes .
2. The animals shall not be sold or given to any animal businesses such as petting zoos or at any time slaughtered for food.
3. That the petting zoo area be returned to natural parkland and/or use to promote the ecology of Stanley Park. This land must not be given to the Vancouver Aquarium for more expansion to promote marine wildlife imprisonment.
Lifeforce Founding Director