Note: This page contains outdated content and may not appear correctly.
Please Click Here to find recent news, events and information from CUPE Ontario.

TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1600 responds to recent Zoocheck statements concerning PAWS, the animal sanctuary in California, where the Toronto Zoo may send their three African elephants. CUPE Local 1600 represents workers and animal keepers at the Toronto Zoo.

Zoocheck describes itself as a “…national animal protection charity established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals.”

“Zoocheck claims that PAWS has stricter quarantine protocols than most accredited zoos, and has general health surveillance procedures during quarantine,” said Grant Ankenman, president of CUPE Local 1600.

“Examination of Zoocheck’s statements reveals that PAWS appears to be no different than the standard in place at the majority of accredited zoological institutions in North America. CUPE Local 1600 queries Zoocheck’s assertion, and would welcome verification, with specifics.

“In addition, Zoocheck makes the claim that the Toronto Zoo’s African elephants are not at risk of contracting disease at the PAWS sanctuary,” Ankenman continues. “With all due respect, no one can make this claim, especially with regards to an airborne contagion such as tuberculosis. The determining factor is the degree of risk, not the absolution of risk.”

Ankenman clarifies that he is not addressing the issue of the actual elephant transfer itself. CUPE Local 1600 will continue to take an interest in the transfer of the Toronto Zoo’s elephants, and will be monitoring the process on an ongoing basis. 


For further information, please contact:


Grant Ankenman, President, CUPE Local 1600 (416) 579-2873

Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications  (416) 292-3999