3rd June 2011 By e mail, fax and mail
Hon. Ed Stelmach
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton AB T5K 2B7
Re: Shutting Down Guzoo Farm
I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman & CEO of The Humane Society of Canada on behalf of the millions of Albertans and many others from around the world who share our concern about the protection of animals.
We were grateful to learn that on 1st June 2011 your Government has decided to shut down Guzoo Farm through a process outlined in part setting our that: “… Over the next seven days, both departments will work with the zoo operator to identify an orderly decommissioning process to remove and disperse the animals in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the animals as well as the operator’s business...” (see attached)
However, we are deeply concerned that for decades your Government and your staff have allowed the owner of this facility to play a game of brinksmanship with the animal’s lives under your joint care. While the owner has primary care responsibilities, as we have indicated in previous correspondence, your Government and your staff share equally in the manner in which these animals have spent their lives for years. More specifically, we are alarmed by the owner’s well documented and often repeated public threats that he will kill and stuff the animals if the facility is closed.
We appreciated the opportunity to speak with Dave Ealey of the Communications Department earlier today about the decommissioning of Guzoo Farms in Three Hills, AB. While we can appreciate that the discussions are ongoing, we would urge the government not to allow the owners to kill the animals and send them to the taxidermist rather than find suitable permanent and caring homes for them.
As you are fully aware, under the law, now that a full investigation has taken place and a decision reached, the animals on this farm, can be seized by the government and either cared for in situ or housed elsewhere until such time as suitable permanent and caring homes can be found for them.
As stated in news releases and on your government’s website, the decommissioning of Guzoo farm has been given a one week period time. We are concerned that this is not enough time in which to find suitable new housing, and that the animals will be killed by an angry and resentful owner who has repeated threatened to kill them and that he may use this short time frame as yet one more excuse to do so. His publicly reported suggestions that moving the animals will cause stress flies in the face over his apparent lack of concern for the stress caused to the animals while under your joint care that led to the closure of the facility in the first place.
We look forward to advising the millions of concerned Albertans and others who care about animals along with the media about the positive steps you are taking to resolve these very serious allegations.
Awaiting your reply, I remain, yours sincerely,
Chairman & CEO