Animal welfare body investigating Edmonton Valley Zoo

Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) has launched an investigation into the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

CAZA says it was made aware of a complaint lodged by Animal Justice on Jan. 20.

The complaint cites a number of concerns stemming from the zoo’s request for funding during Edmonton’s most recent budget deliberations, and the subsequent budget report from the city.

Zoo officials asked council for approximately $50 million in December to renew existing infrastructure and meet licensing requirements.

Zoo spokesperson Roger Jevne told council “several” animal habitats do not meet CAZA standards.

Council eventually voted to slash the funding in half, giving the zoo $25 million.

The complaint says the zoo has failed to meet standards required by CAZA and Alberta Zoo Standards, as well as breaching provincial laws, including the Animal Protection Act and the Animal Protection Regulation.

“CAZA members work very hard to adhere to a stringent set of accreditation standards, which are recognized as best practices worldwide. Our standards provide important science-based safeguards for the animals in our members’ care, the people tasked with caring for them,” Jim Facette of CAZA said in a written release. “As a result, we take complaints alleging failures to comply with those standards very seriously.”

CAZA is a self-governing body that purports to be the leading organization in Canadian animal welfare standards and development.

The Valley Zoo received its CAZA accreditation in November 2022.

At the time, Facette called the zoo an “exceptional facility,” and said he had complete confidence it would continue to be.

CTV News reached out to the City of Edmonton for comment on this story.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Adam Lachacz and Jessica Robb. 

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