Ontario Captive Animal Watch (OCAW) is a grassroots organization that investigates and exposes substandard living conditions that animals are subjected to in the entertainment and sales industry across Ontario, Canada.
So, who are we?
OCAW was founded in early 2014 by co-founders Nicholas Wilvert and Cary Nice. As individuals, the members of OCAW each have a lot of unique experiences and backgrounds that they bring to the organization – varying from investigation to photography and journalism.
And what do we do exactly?
OCAW is all about investigation, exposure, and education. Ontario has two aquarium attractions, two travelling seasonal circuses (that use animals in their performances), a multitude of privately and publicly owned zoos, a large amount of animal breeders (puppy mills included), auctions, markets, and stores.
Each member of OCAW has a responsibility to thoroughly understand the OSPCA Standards of Care Act and the CAZA Accreditation Standards. This is important to us because it lends us credibility as far as our knowledge goes – we know what is illegal and we know how it needs to be corrected.
Regarding the CAZA Accreditation Standards, there are many zoos and aquariums that do not adhere to the standards but are CAZA Accredited regardless. It is our goal to inspect those establishments and report them accordingly.
We exist because many organizations are notorious for disregarding neglectful conditions if certain species are involved – namely livestock, small animals, and fowl. The OSPCA, for instance, did not come to the Tiger Paw Exotic Animal Auction because they did not consider the situation to be life-threatening to an animal (meanwhile, we had an ailing goat kid in our lap who needed emergency veterinary care).
This is why we exist; if our reports are disregarded, we fall back on the next best thing: exposure. This is because no one has more control over industries than the people who support them. If you attend the zoo, circus, aquarium or if you buy from pet stores, auctions, or markets then you are our primary target.
It is our goal to achieve change through public outreach, social media, and educational demonstrations. Some of our goals include (but are not limited to): ending the private ownership of exotic animals, aiding in the permanent closure of zoos, circuses,aquariums, and sales which have demonstrated cruelty and generally unsafe for the public.
Moving forward, any animal rescued during our efforts will be relocated to an appropriate sanctuary for their species (if they can not be safely released back into the wild). We aim to provide support to reputable sanctuaries throughout Ontario.
Please click here to like our Facebook page. Become a part of the OCAW movement. Your support is our treasure.
IMPORTANT: tune-in to Global News tomorrow (time to be announced on the OCAW Facebook page). Global News will be doing a segment on the sale of exotic animals in Ontario, which will include an interview with OCAW co-founder Nicholas Wilvert.