Dozens protest outside Saint John zoo over alleged guinea pig deaths
Published Sunday, April 7, 2019 5:40PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, April 7, 2019 6:37PM ADT
Around two dozen protesters gathered outside the Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John on Sunday following an alleged incident involving guinea pigs.
The protest comes after several guinea pigs were found dead at the zoo.
After completing an investigation, the New Brunswick SPCA recommended charges under the New Brunswick SPCA Act and the Criminal Code for inhumane euthanasia and causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
However, after reviewing the files, the Crown prosecutor decided there will be no charges laid.
“I was disgusted, I was disgusted. Anyone that works with animals knows better,” said Lori Magee.
“We’re speaking up for what we believe in and the rightful case that New Brunswick SPCA did recommend charges, so where are they?” said Sarah Cusack, a former employee of the Cherry Brook Zoo.
Little details on the alleged incident have been released, but the zoo is home to a number of carnivores who require meat.
Officials at the zoo insist animals euthanized for feed are treated as humanely as possible.
“I know the processes. I know what standards we follow and I know there’s no suffering with any of the animals,” said Martha McDevitt, executive director of the Cherry Brook Zoo. “I can tell you that 100 per cent we follow strict standards here. We’re an accredited facility and they come in and scrutinize everything, including that.”
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums announced they are completing their own investigation into the matter.
Zoo officials say they welcome the investigation, and are fully willing to cooperate however they can.
“All the work that our staff has done to change it around, give the animals the utmost care they deserve, and then when it gets turned around saying there’s animal cruelty and abuse, is like absolutely heartbreaking,” said McDevitt. “It’s so far from the truth. It’s so far from what we stand for.”
CAZA says they aren’t making any comments until their investigation is complete.
For now, volunteers at the zoo will continue cleaning and preparing to open for the 2019 season after being closed for the winter.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall