Montreal

PETA accused of being alarmist about zoo animals

The closure of the Quebec City zoo is garnering attention from the animal-rights lobby group PETA.

The closure of the Quebec City zoo is garnering attention from the animal-rights lobby group PETA.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on the Association of Canadian Zoos to protect the animals.

Canada's oldest zoo closed to the public on Friday, leaving an uncertain future for more than 800 animals.

Amy Rhodes at PETA says she's worried about the animals at the zoo, and has been fielding calls about their future for the past few weeks.

"People have read about it in the news. They're horrified. They want to know what they can do. They want to know what PETA can do," Rhodes told CBC News.

The animals might end up in the wrong hands, Rhodes said.

For example, exotic animal breeders, hunters or a roadside zoo that is not accredited would be interested in getting their hands on the animals.

PETA is calling on the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums to "take charge" of the Quebec City animals.

As it turns out, there are already measures in place to protect the animals and ensure they go to other accredited institutions, says association director Bill Peters.

"It's a bit of an alarmist statement and there's no need for that sort of alarmism at this point," Peters said.

All members of his association will be available to help in any way they can, he insisted.