Serbia: 27/07/11 – Investigations Reveal An Illegal Zoo Confirmed Operating, Combined With A Minister Who Appears Unable To Perform His Job Requirements !

Obviously our main concern is now the current welfare and long term future of the animals which are currently existing at Novi Pazar.  It is very early days into a positive result, but we will endevour with our Serbian welfare friends to ensure that good, permanent and much better quality homes are found for all the current animals at this ILLEGAL hell hole zoo.  – SAV

Very Important Update – Wednesday 27/07/11

‘VUK’ Zoo facility; Novi Pazar, Serbia.

Regarding the combined efforts of animal welfare organisations to expose the horrendous conditions at ‘VUK’ zoo facility in Novi Pazar, Southern Serbia, we have now been given a fantastic update by ‘Help Animals’, Belgrade.

We now have official confirmation from the Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning that they undertook an inspection of the facility on 5th of July 2011, and that it was found that the owner of zoo park, one Mr. Ismail Redzepovic, from Novi Pazar, does not possess any documentation in relation to this facility being operated / kept as a zoo park.

Official letters are as follows:

zoo vrt-vuk,odg.str

Further, he (Mr. Ismail Redzepovic) does not even possess any form of licence for any kind of economic activity at this facility.

We are informed that he “just has something like a kind of agreement with Belgrade zoo park, from where it appears that allegedly, he was supplied with the animals he has.”  It is also alleged that some of the animals were given “as a gift”.

There are many issues that concern us greatly with regard this zoo park situation; the main ones being the complete ignorance of the Serbian government Ministry (Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning) that they have any idea what is happening.  Once again, it comes down to animal welfare organisations exposing the situation ‘in the field / reality’, while government ministers appear to simply sit back, turning a blind eye to what is actually happening, whilst at the same time directing people to useless government zoo animal welfare regulations which simply exist as words on a sheet of paper !

Remember the words which inform us how tight the zoo regulations are !

This whole situation at Novi Pazar shows that the whole system is out of control, and that government ministers who are in a position to oversee what happens and strictly enforce the animal welfare regulations, are simply turning a blind eye to their official responsibilities.

We ask the following questions of the minister:

  • Why were you completely unaware of the illegal operation of the Novi Pazar zoo park facility ?
  • Why were you completely unaware that (wild) animals were being traded between Belgrade zoo park and Novi Pazar zoo park facility ?
  • Why were you as the Minister not aware of live animals being transported on civil roads between these two facilities ?
  • What would have been your response should animals have escaped from vehicles during transportation that you appear to not have been aware of ?
  • Without any official documentation (licenses) to support animals being shipped between facilities (Belgrade and Novi Pazar); is there not a bio-security risk across the country ? – the potential for animal diseases to be spread by possible carrier animals in transport between Belgrade and Novi Pazar ?
  • What checks are now going to be undertaken regarding animal record documentation at Belgrade zoo park ?
  • In accordance with the “Official Document on the Law for Animal Welfare Serbia” – Section 14 – Protection of Animal welfare in Zoo’s –

Clause 71:

Why were you as the Minister, not aware of:

The proprietor of zoological park or a mini park, sanctuary or a nursery/ breeding facility for wild animals has an obligation to provide”:

  • Keeping official record of every individual animal, as well as a record of all sold or exchanged animals, or animals that are given to third parties as a gift ?
  • Financial means that are necessary for continuous work of the zoo

Clause 72 states.  Person responsible for the protection of animal welfare in zoological park, sanctuary or breeding facility for wild animals must have completed studies on academic level with title – diploma – master in veterinary science (doctor for veterinary medicine ) or biological science (diploma zoologist /biologist – master)  or completed basic studies in the length of minimum of 5 years in the field of veterinary science or minimum of 4 years in the field of biological science.

  • So what academic studies in animal welfare and zoo keeping were undertaken by Mr. Ismail Redzepovic ?
  • Is he (Mr. Ismail Redzepovic) qualified with a diploma ? – is he a master in veterinary science (doctor for veterinary medicine) ? or has he specialised in biological science (diploma zoologist /biologist – master) ?
  • Did Mr. Ismail Redzepovic complete basic studies for a minimum of 5 years in veterinary science ? – or did he undertake a minimum of 4 years in the field of biological science ?
  • What has been his ‘training in the welfare field’ ?
  • What training did the Minister, in collaboration with and approvals of acting as Minister for the environmental protection, provide as the program for training of the persons that are going to provide animal welfare from clause 2 of this section ? – what did the minister do regarding Novi Pazac zoo ?


Clause 73.

Movement of wild animals that are under the special regime of animal protection in conjunction with local and international regulations can be carried out only in-between zoological parks, sanctuaries and breeding facilities with approval by minister and acting minister for the environmental protection”.

  • Why, as minister, were you completely unaware that wild animals had been moved between Belgrade and Novi Pazar zoo parks ?
  • The movement and trading of animals is only allowed to be approved by the Minister – so why such a massive failure here ? – could it be that the minister does not care as long as he has words and paper legislation attempting to show that regulations exist ?

This expose is a massive embarrassment for the government and the ministers, showing simply that they have no control over what is happening.  Animals are suffering hugely as a result.  Paper documentation and ‘Weasel Word’ government legislation for the alleged protection of animals in zoos is supposed to exist in the form of “Official Document on the Law for Animal Welfare Serbia” – Section 14 – Protection of Animal welfare in Zoo’s.  What a joke this legislation is; legislation which means nothing being overseen by people who do nothing – government ministers.

They should all be ashamed of themselves.

This information is being passed to the EU Legal Affairs section, Brussels, as further evidence why Serbian ministers need to get their act together regarding the enforcement of Serbian animal welfare legislation before Serbia is allowed EU accession.

Our thanks go out to all our supporters who have sent messages relating to this issue so far.  This is not the end; probably just the beginning !

Past SAV posts relating to Novi Pazar zoo, and other Serbian zoo facilites:

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