27th March 2020 

Freedom for Animals has exposed a bird of prey centre near Royal Tunbridge Wells operating without a licence. Information obtained from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council revealed that Sky Birds of Prey, located at Honnington Farm, Southborough, was operating for many months without an animal activities licence yet have been exhibiting their captive birds to the public regardless.

Freedom for Animals first investigated the centre following a tip off from a member of the public stating that the birds were being tied down for extended periods and were left covered in their own excrement.

The new licensing scheme for animal activities, which covers falconry displays and bird of prey centres, came into effect in October 2018. A 'grace period' until April 2019 was granted to those businesses who were previously registered under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act. As Sky Birds of Prey was previously registered with Sevenoaks District Council until October 2018, it is believed to have been illegally operating for at least ten months. During this period, Sky Birds of Prey advertised events at numerous garden centres across Kent. The centre also hosted photography and experience days for paying members of the public.

Freedom for Animals' Director, Sam Threadgill, commented;

Sky Birds of Prey have been brazen in their mockery of the licensing system and anyone responsible for operating illegally should be prosecuted in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. With such blatant disregard for a law designed to protect animals, I dread to think of the treatment given to those birds held captive at Honnington Farm.

Whilst licensing offers some regulations to help avoid the worst suffering and makes sure such premises are inspected, no licence will ever truly protect those birds currently suffering within bird of prey centres. Freedom for Animals is therefore committed to seeing the end of cruel bird of prey zoos.

Bird of prey centres have been under increasing scrutiny since Freedom for Animals launched Tether and Torment, a campaign highlighting the hidden suffering in UK bird of prey zoos. In a recent groundbreaking investigation of the industry, birds were found to be tethered for the vast majority of the day and night, kept in cramped, dirty enclosures and routinely touched by members of the public causing great stress to the birds.

TAKE ACTION against bird of prey zoos on Zoo Awareness Weekend.