Friday, April 7th, 2017
Frustratingly an appeal has been entered by David Gill, owner of South Lakes Safari Zoo, against the refusal of his application for a zoo licence by Barrow Council. The appeal will now be processed through the magistrates court. While the appeal process takes place, the zoo remains open. This situation highlights the failings of the zoo licensing system which leaves the animals at risk at a zoo which has been exposed for serious suffering, neglect and preventable deaths of animals whilst the authorities consider an appeal. Would this happen with a human establishment? We think not.
Whilst David Gill has made it clear that he no longer wants to be involved with the zoo and is happy to step away from the operation, it leaves us questioning why he would wish to enter an appeal.
Meanwhile, the application for Cumbria Zoo Co. is still due to be heard. Just yesterday, it was revealed that zoo inspectors have chosen to recommend to the council that the application be approved, following their inspection of the zoo in March.
We have entered our submission regarding their application, highlighting our concerns and urging the council to refuse this licence application as well. Key management staff at Cumbria Zoo Co. have been involved with the zoo over the years whilst welfare concerns and deaths have been taking place. The animals must be given a safe environment, meeting their basic needs which has certainly not been the case for a long time at the zoo!
We sent our investigators to the zoo for a second time to collect evidence on the condition of the animals. Animals with health concerns continued to be on display like those pictured below:
This cannot go on. The suffering must stop. The Zoo Licensing Act is supposed to protect animals in zoos. The case for this zoo to be closed could not be stronger. The authorities must act to protect the animals held at the zoo and move them to safety.
There has been a call from MPs for a parliamentary debate on the licensing of zoos as a result of this case and the widespread public attention it has received.
Please contact your MP before 20th April and urge them to question the DEFRA minister, George Eustice, on how the issues at South Lakes Zoo were allowed to happen for so many years.