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African Lion Safari Hit Again! June 1st, 2013


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Today, June 1st, 2013 a demonstration opposing animal cruelty was held from noon till 2pm at African Lion Safari located at 1386 Cooper Road in Hamilton, ON.

Roughly 30 activists from the GOAL (Grassroots Ontario Animal Liberation), which is made up of animal protection groups all over the province, converged at this location to expose animal abuse. 

Demonstrators handed out leaflets to cars entering the facility and made impassioned speeches about the wild animal trade in Canada and about African Lion Safari exploiting children’s curiosity while simultaneously exploiting animals.  Several vehicles turned around after learning that the animals don’t actually run free in the open for most of the year, and are in fact confined to filthy cold barns for seven months a year.

African Lion Safari tried to silence the demonstrators by eerily blaring their theme song repeatedly over their speaker system but the protestor’s megaphones were louder and park patrons were not spared the message of “Your ticket – your fault”  “your money – your fault!”

When their speaker system failed to disrupt the demonstration, the police started ticketing demonstrator’s cars in an area which had been previously designated by police as the official parking area.  Demonstrators then formed a picket in front of the park entrance, blocking traffic for several minutes until the police agreed to withdraw the tickets.

Despite the protest being interrupted by African Lion Safari and their henchmen, the message was clear: “Stop destroying animals’ lives for profit and entertainment!”

Following is an official statement made by a member of GOAL:

“We are protesting animals in captivity, the use of animals for entertainment, the use of bullhooks during African Lion Safari's "Elephant Round-Up Show", and other abuses that occur here. 

African Lion Safari is marketed as a sanctuary and many people feel that this facility has a lot to offer the animals imprisoned here.  In reality, the animals here spend up to seven months confined in sheds during the off-season.  Many of these animals are conditioned to live in hot climates and become vulnerable to illness during the cold Canadian winters. Also, bullhooks which are staffs with sharpened metal hooks at the end. are used on elephants here to train and control them during performances.  These hooks pierce the elephants’ skin and cause them pain and suffering.  The elephants here are also frequently rented out for parties, films, commercials, circuses, and special events. Car exhaust blowing in the animals’ faces, loud children, parents, vehicles, and camera flashes are some other things that cause these animals unnecessary stress.  African Lion Safari also runs a captive breeding program where the animals are bred to sustain captive populations of these animals.  They will be used in zoos and circuses and never be released into the wild. 


This facility is accredited by CAZA (Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums) which is supposed to be the gold standard of animal care.  A conflict of interest is inherent here, as the board members of CAZA are made up and funded by the same facilities that they are supposed to regulate.  Serge Lussier of African Lion Safari as one example sits on the board as secretary-treasurer.  CAZA's accreditation process includes a pre-announced visit to a facility for only one day and is not reflective of the facilities’ day to day operations.  CAZA's eleven standards of care have been shown to be arbitrary and open to interpretation by Zoo Check in their evaluation of CAZA's accreditation process which can be found here:  Zoo Check’s reports also goes so far as to say that accredited facilities do not even adhere to their own standards, as shown in the case of Marineland.


We would like the public to start critically thinking about animals confined in facilities like African Lion Safari.  People get to go home after their visit but these animals spend a life of misery in places like this all over Canada.  With little to no government regulation of facilities like African Lion Safari and where generating profits is the top priority (African Lion Safari is privately owned and operated), animals’ needs and health will always come second to greed and profit.  We ask that people take their kids to places like farm sanctuaries, camping, or show them animal documentaries to teach them about wild animals.  Taking your child to watch an "elephant show" only teaches them that animals are pets and property and only offers negative education about natural animal behavior.  There are many places to vacation where animals aren't abused.


Animals First - Profits Last!


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