20th May 2020

Research carried out by Freedom for Animals has revealed that 39% of bird of prey centres in the UK do not have a zoo licence, despite meeting the criteria to require one. Like any other form of zoo, these centres are exhibiting wild animals to the public, yet are often overlooked. 

Of the 94 zoos identified during the study, a shocking 37 did not have a zoo licence. 

Eight centres have no licence whatsoever, yet continue to keep and train their birds totally unlawfully. These include Sky Birds of Prey near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, who Freedom for Animals recently exposed for showing a blatant disregard for a law designed to protect animals and Skyhigh Falconry in Dumfriesshire, who claim to be the ‘largest travelling display of birds of prey in the UK’ and list Vodafone, Barclays and Scottish Natural Heritage among their past clients. Skyhigh Falconry also advertise that they travel to anywhere in the UK, raising huge concerns for the wild animals confined to a trailer for hours on end. 

For a multitude of reasons, bird of prey zoos have fallen through the cracks of legislation brought in to provide a minimum of protection for captive animals. Freedom for Animals has found that there are major inconsistencies between local authorities, who are responsible for issuing zoo licences and Animal Activities Licences, in their approach to issuing zoo licences, and it is the birds held captive in these centres who are suffering as a result.

Although licensing can never truly protect those birds currently suffering within bird of prey centres and Freedom for Animals is committed to seeing the end of such zoos, it does offer some regulations to help avoid the worst suffering and makes sure such premises are inspected.

Freedom for Animals’ Director, Sam Threadgill, commented:

Bird of prey zoos have escaped scrutiny for many years but through our campaign, Tether and Torment, Freedom for Animals is shining a light on this cruel industry. The magnificent birds held within these centres should not be confined to live a life of captivity; tied down for hours on end and living in tiny enclosures.

Take action to correctly licence bird of prey centres!