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TORONTO The Greater Vancouver Zoo made the right decision last Friday when it announced it would review its plan to send Tina the elephant to the Bowmanville Zoo, says the union representing workers at the Toronto Zoo.

We just wish Toronto would do the same with its decision to contract camel rides, said Jim Fudge, president of CUPE Local 1600. Zoo workers have raised concerns with the zoo board and with city councillors about the contract awarded this year to the Bowmanville Zoo to operate rides previously operated by zoo staff. Bowmanville, under Director Michael Hackenberger, is also responsible for the care and well being of the camels.

The concerns raised by animal rights activists in Vancouver echo what we have heard from our own members, some of whom have worked at the Bowmanville Zoo, Fudge said. Greater Vancouver Zoo General Manager John Lee told the Vancouver Sun last Friday that he has been deluged with calls from the public and animal rights activists, who claimed that Hackenberger strikes his animals and uses other forms of deprivation to train them.

Fudge said his members are also upset that the people operating the camel rides are wearing Toronto Zoo uniforms.

We want the public to be aware that these are not Zoo employees, he said. They are people who have been hired by the Bowmanville Zoo to operate the rides.


For more information, contact:
Jim Fudge, President CUPE Local 1600 - 416-579-2873
Kim Meehan, Shop Steward for Animal Care, Local 1600 - 416-469-4946
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999