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African Lion Safari Opening Day Celebrations Disrupted by GOAL Activists


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Today, Saturday May 4th, 2013, a demonstration exposing animal cruelty was held at African Lion Safari on 1386 Cooper Road in Hamilton, ON.  The demonstration was held from 12-2pm and was attended by roughly 50 activists from all over Ontario. 

The protest was organized by G.O.A.L. (Grassroots Ontario Animal Liberation) and was endorsed by the following animal liberation groups: Niagara Animal Defense League, Marineland Animal Defense, Coalition for Circus Animal Freedom, Protest the African Lion Safari, Earth Warriors in Action, Guelph Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Guelph Pig Save, Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance, and Fanshawe Animal Alliance.

Activists presented signs reading "Animals First, Profits Last!" while others highlighted issues surrounding animals in captivity. Many demonstrators were dressed in full costume including a giant rooster, and a tiger trapped inside a small cage.  Traffic was halted by demonstrators distributing information exposing animal abuse to potential Safari patrons, and shouting over megaphones catchy chants like: "Captivity is Murder - Captivity is Death, Free the Animals -- ALF!" and "Your Ticket -- Your Fault, Your Money -- Your Fault."
Many families were shocked to learn that people have been attacked at the Safari, including one incident resulting in the death of an elephant trainer.
When questioned about animal cruelty, one activist responded, "The animals are put on display for a few months in the summer, but are then confined to small barns for seven months of the year.  They aren't intended to live in the cold Canadian climates and are vulnerable to disease. On top of that, the elephants here are forced to perform frivolous circus tricks daily, and the trainers use bull hooks on them, which are spiked staffs that inflict pain.  The African Lion Safari claims to be educational, but children who are exposed to this kind of brutality will actually receive negative education about natural elephant behavior."

Another demonstrator was quoted as saying, "African Lion Safari is viewed by many as a sanctuary that protects these animals, but it is a for-profit business which means that the animals' needs will always come second.  The elephants here are regularly rented out for films, commercials, parades, circuses and private parties.  As for wildlife conservation, all the animals at this facility will never be reintroduced into the wild and are simply used to sustain captive populations in zoos and circuses. African Lion Safari is accredited by CAZA (Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums), which is supposed to set standards of care for such facilities, but a conflict of interest can be seen when you take a close look at their board of directors: It is comprised entirely of safari, zoo, and aquarium CEOs including Serge Lussier of African Lion Safari, who sits on the board as secretary--treasurer.  How can an organization such as CAZA ensure quality of care for animals when it is funded and run by the same people it is supposed to regulate? Just look at Marineland, their own employees are coming forward with atrocious stories of neglect and abuse but their facility was recently re-accredited by CAZA despite the evidence.   We're here to serve justice!"

A rekindling of the animal liberation movement has been sparked in Ontario in recent years following case after case of animal cruelty exposed at the now unpopular animal attraction: Marineland in Niagara Falls, ON.  From the Open the Cages Tour hitting Ontario this summer, targeting vivisection labs across the province, to numerous demonstrations organized against the Shrine Circus, it is evident that animal exploitation industries must seriously reconsider their role as the public's conscience shifts towards a more ethical paradigm.
Another demonstration is scheduled at African Lion Safari for Saturday, June 1st.

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