Roger Williams Park Zoo Defies USDA

Roger Williams Park Zoo Defies USDA

Friday, February 3, 2017
Posts Reports Online
In reaction to the February 3 ruling from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcing that the department removed animal welfare inspection reports, enforcement records and other information about the treatment of animals from its website, citing privacy and other laws, Roger Williams Park Zoo announced that they would post reports specific to the Zoo on their website.
 
Dr. Jeremy Goodman, executive director commented, “we are a well-established Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited Zoo.  It is vitally important that all our stakeholders including our members, visitors, board, staff, volunteers as well as the public know that we are completely transparent with everything that happens on our grounds.  This ruling is frustrating, and may allow some institutions to hide their negative animal welfare records.”
 
In a statement released on February 6, president and CEO of AZA Dan Ashe made it clear that AZA accredited institutions pride themselves in far exceeding the very highest standards in animal care.  His statement went on to explain that because of the AZA’s strict accreditation process Zoo’s “nationwide have earned the public’s trust and confidence as reflected by the more than 186 million annual visits to member facilities.  This trust and confidence is eroded by efforts that are seemingly intended to shield information from public view.”
 
Goodman noted that AZA Zoos are eager to see the USDA ruling reversed, and in response are deciding to post their specific reports to their Zoo’s websites. “This is one time we will ignore the current rules, and do what we know is in the best interest of our animals, our Zoo and the public.”
View Roger Williams Park Zoo USDA reports from September 2015 and 2016 and a response letter signed by Rhode Island's Congressman Jim Langevin and Congressman David N. Cicilline to President Trump.
 
Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction and is a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo has received numerous awards for environmental education, and conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction.  Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence.