Position Statements | Winnipeg Humane Society
Skip to content
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

Position Statement Regarding Zoos and Aquariums

Approved by the WHS Board of Directors on: December 11, 2019

The Winnipeg Humane Society understands the dire need for local and international conservation efforts to be employed by accredited organizations, in order to mitigate habitat destruction and species extinction. As such, the WHS acknowledges that accredited non-profit zoological facilities and aquariums do have a role to play in conservation and public education initiatives.

The WHS applauds facilities that hold a primary focus on the following mandates:

  • Preserve and restore endangered species populations through captive breeding and release programs;
  • Support the investigation of cruelty cases involving exotic animals requiring specialized care;
  • Financially support and partner with global conservation programs;
  • Educate the public on the needs of wild animals, their ecosystems, and how to help.

The Winnipeg Humane Society strongly encourages existing accredited zoological facilities to shift their focus away from displaying live animal species as a means of public education. Rather, the WHS encourages such facilities focus on launching local and global animal conservation initiatives, while simultaneously acting as refuges and sanctuaries for un-releasable wildlife and confiscated exotic pets.

Specifically, the WHS encourages accredited zoological facilities to transition by:

  • Only breeding species classified as endangered, according to their Species Survival Program, including a plan to reintroduce offspring back into the wild;
  • Provide larger public education displays that stress the themes of climate change, habitat destruction and appropriate courses of action that the public can take;
  • Take into account the complex and lasting maternal and social relationships various animals form, and the psychological impact that occurs when separating and shipping animals to other facilities;
  • Exceed currently accepted industry standards as they relate to the training and husbandry of all animals within zoological facilities, including the ability to allow all housed species to carry out their most basic natural instincts like flying, migrating, burrowing, foraging, etc;
  • Act as sanctuaries for un-releasable wild animals and refuges for the thousands of inappropriate exotic pets (caimen, tigers, kinkajous, etc) that can be found across Canada;
  • Pledge to stop transporting display animals (including reptiles) off-site to use them as live props while conducting educational programs.

The Winnipeg Humane Society strongly opposes facilities that display wild animals and the primary business is to profit from public interaction and viewing of the displayed animals. These type of activities have no place in a humane and respectful community.