Councilors at Barrow Borough in the UK just refused to renew the owner's operating license for South Lakes Safari Zoo. But why did a zookeeper and almost 500 animals have to die before this delayed action was taken?
According to The Telegraph, 486 animals died at SLSZ from January, 2013 to September, 2016. Some of these animals did not just die, some died slow, painful deaths due to starvation and untreated diseases. All the deaths were preventable.
Maddy Taylor with Captive Animals Prevention Society told The Dodo that her group was shocked by the conditions they found at the zoo last July, one of the worst examples captured in a photo of a dying, extremely emaciated kangaroo.
Even worse, Taylor told the press, it's not just SLSZ having serious problems. Eight more UK zoos, she says, have been identified so far. Taylor believes there needs to be an overhaul of the whole 'flawed licensing system' and that zoos should be monitored by a central body.
Currently UK zoos are monitored by area councils, who do inspections only once every three to four years. An assessment done in 2012 showed they weren't doing a very good job when they did. Clearly the current system is not doing enough to save hundreds of animals from serious neglect and abuse.
Sign this petition to demand that the UK overhaul its flawed zoo licensing and monitoring system.
To Animal Health and Welfare Board for England
An “Assessment of Animal Welfare in British Zoos by Government-Appointed Inspectors," published in 2012, found reason for concern about the UK’s zoo inspection process. The report said the current inspection system seemed "to be superficial; it is rare for an inspection to last more than one day irrespective of the size and/or complexity of the zoo, and 7% of zoos were inspected by the same ZI [zoo inspector] on the same day."
The investigation also identified “areas where changes would lead to improvements in both the inspection process and our ability to monitor animal welfare standards in zoos.” And it noted, among many other concerns, “an urgent need for the development of, and validation of, science-based species-specific guidelines for the care of animals in zoos.”
But apparently these recommendations were not taken to heart, nor could they have been if 486 animals died in one UK zoo, under horrific conditions, in the years that followed this investigation.
Based on the documented deplorable conditions at South Lakes Safari Zoo and those Captive Animals Prevention Society says are present at, at least eight other zoos, it is not unreasonable to demand that the UK overhaul its flawed licensing system and at least reform its monitoring system, so that no more animals have to suffer as so many did at SPSZ.
Thanks for your time.