England: Zoo Gets New Licence Despite 500 Animal Deaths in The Past – Seems To Be New Name; All Ok In Council Eyes !

SAV Comment

Councils are supposed to be run by intelligent people.  Despite overwhelming evidence to have the facility remain closed; dim wits at the council decided against it – granting a new licence to people that have been involved with the deaths of over 500 animals before.  All that has really changed is that a new company was formed by old staff to effectively continue trading.  Everyone apart from the council could see though this; but unfortunately these were the thickheads who passed to allow the new zoo to continue operating.  We have many words for them, but ‘councillor’ is not one.  Sad situation when the ‘Captive Animal Protection Society (CAPS)’ – a national UK welfare organisation watching these type of facilities, is put on a lower scale that the thickheads who work at the council and who have no experience of animal welfare issues.  One has to ask what favours are being given by whom, to who, to allow this kind of thing to happen.


This is our recent post relating to this facility.


In a hearing held yesterday, Barrow Borough Council made this disappointing but unsurprising decision. The licence, which will last 4 years, has been granted to Karen Brewer of Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, a new company that was set up by staff at the zoo. The licence will come into force once the previous licence holder, David Gill, withdraws his licence and ends his appeal.

As an animal charity which has spent decades monitoring and investigating zoos, the history of animal suffering and death at this zoo is one of the worst cases we have ever seen. Hundreds of animals have died of preventable deaths and have undergone horrific suffering at the zoo for years and it should have been shut down a long time ago.

Key management who have been heavily involved at the zoo in the past have now been given the stamp of approval to run the zoo despite the long history of suffering.


Council grants licence for South Lakes Safari Zoo

I am sad to tell you that South Lakes Safari Zoo, where almost 500 animals died due to mismanagement and neglect, will remain open.

The new licence applicant, Karen Brewer, was awarded the zoo licence by the local council at a hearing yesterday.  This decision was made despite outcry by the public, complaints from concerned residents, animal protection organisations and ex-employees.

One ex-employee of the zoo claimed he had been told by management to feed the animals “mouldy bread” and had to regularly “beg for scraps of food” from the zoo’s restaurant “just to give the animals some fresh food”.

Campaigns Officer, Maddy Taylor, presented at the hearing outlining your concerns and being the voice for the animals. We made it clear that the awarding of this licence is a mistake, especially when the horrors at this zoo have been going on for years and the council should have closed it down a long time ago. 

Read more here: https://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2017/05/council-grants-licence-for-south-lakes-safari-zoo-to-remain-open

It is difficult to say to you that we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, as although we knew the chances were low and the odds stacked against us (and the animals), you can’t help but hope. We fought as hard as we could within a poor legal system which seems to be designed to keep zoos going.

This is why with your help, we carry out vital work exposing the poor regulation of zoos, the widespread issues of keeping animals in captivity and advocate for an end to captivity altogether – it is the only outcome that will guarantee animals are completely free from human exploitation.

As a result of this case, DEFRA have indicated they are looking into the Zoo Licensing Act and I am busy working on a report to send to them containing all the evidence we have gathered on where this law is failing animals. This is just one action out of many that you have supported so thank you again.

Closing down South Lakes zoo would have been a victory for animals but it still would have only been small chip out of a industry rife with poor regulation, animal suffering and exploitation. This is why the campaigning must and will continue to focus on the industry as a whole and the ethics of captivity as well as on individual zoos like this. So let us pick ourselves up and continue to fight, as the animals still need us.

Nicola O’Brien

Campaigns Director

P.S. I am sad to share this news with you but we must use this result to expose the wider, fundamental issues of the zoo industry as a whole – the poor regulations, the welfare compromises, the ethics.

Thank you for helping us to do this. If you have any questions about the South Lakes Safari Zoo campaign, feel free to reply to this email.





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