10th April 2019

David Gill, founder of the controversial South Lakes Safari Zoo, has withdrawn his licence application for a horse ranch. The plans for the ranch brought media attention and complaints from the public who were concerned about the welfare of animals under his care due to Gill's history. Back in 2017 Gill's licence application for South Lakes Safari Zoo was refused by the council. Over 500 animals had died over just a few years including by electrocution, starvation and poisoning.

Whilst posts on the facebook page initially implied delays to the opening of the business, it appears that the plans have now been abandoned altogether. Gill made a statement implying he had been subjected to a “sad witch-hunt by the press”. He added that he had discontinued the plans due to “abuse, threats and general disgusting behaviour of Facebook trolls who wish to maliciously damage our family reputation, income, our quality of operations”.

He continued “The planning and licence would not have been an issue for us as we conformed to all guidance and standards in full and there was no planning issue that would have prevented the operations.”

The Lake District National Park, which had been considering the application for a licence, had received over 90 objections. Most of these objections were outlining concerns about animal welfare. Others complained of "excessive amount of horse manure and urine”.

Maddy Taylor, Campaigns Officer, told the Guardian:

"We are hugely relieved that the planning application has been withdrawn for the David Gill's next project - the horse ranch. We hope that this means that the business plans have been permanently shelved. Gill has left a trail of animal businesses behind him where animals died of neglect, poisoning and even electrocution. Given his shocking track record, we urge councils to refuse any future applications that Gill may make for businesses involving animals."