Monday, June 6, 2011

Bye, bye Guzoo?

Ezra Levant had an excellent show today about Alberta government bureaucrats shutting down Guzoo, a small private Alberta zoo.  The shutdown order is based on an inspection by CAZA under contract to the AB government.  There was no hearing, no court proceedings and, according to the AB minister in charge, no possibility of appeal.  Zoo owner, Bill Gustafson, has $1.5M and over 20 years invested in a project that is being shutdown by bureaucratic fiat.  I can't say I know much about the conditions at Guzoo but this Gestapo-like behaviour by the AB government certainly isn't right.  It's one more black mark against the Stelmach regime.

Ezra did a great job of interviewing grilling CAZA National Director, Bill Peters, questioning why CAZA (which represents the big professioal, government funded zoos) didn't recuse itself from involvement because its member are competitors of private zoos and, according to Peters, are against the existence of any private zoo.  Peters nevertheless insisted on CAZA's complete objectivity in the matter.  Ya, sure!  Ezra also noted that the Calgary Zoo (a CAZA member) has in recent years had 41 exotic animals die under its 'care'. Yet it's Guzoo, whose animals are apparently well treated, that is being shut down. Peters mumbled something about CAZA having done a very extensive report on the Calgary Zoo.

Ezra asked that listeners write weasely Alberta MLA Richard Marz to protest the Guzoo shutdown order.  Will do.


Craig Smith said...

I just wrote my letter. Thanks for drawing attention to it.

Frances said...

Photos published this spring showed the animals in wet, dirty, and apparently unsanitary pens. I don't know if the conditions were normal or an aberrration. I do know this zoo has been cited more than once for having seriously less than satisfactory conditions for their animals.

If this is truly a case of the government and large organizations piling on, then I will write and complain as well. However, the interests of the animals must be paramount. Good intentions are not enough; if the owner truly cannot look after the animals property, then it should close.

JR said...

Frances, There are conflicting reports about conditions there. The CAZA report said that animals' health was not a problem but that bureaucratic procedures (red tape, paperwork, etc) were deficient. In fact Guzoo took in the tiger (rescued it) after all the government funded zoos had rejected it.

As far as I'm concerned the main problem in this case is the government process leading to the shut-down order without a proper hearing, no appeal, etc. Very autocratic and heavy-handed. If anything needs to be "shut-down" it's the government agencies involved.

Winston said...

I wrote to him too. Is he the one who is in charge of closing this zoo?