Representatives from Freedom for Animals attended the council meeting on Monday 6th March which considered the licence application for South Lakes Safari Zoo.

We are delighted to say that the council made the decision to refuse the zoo licence application from Mr David Gill. His reign at the zoo has gone on for too long already, with animals and a keeper paying the price with their lives.

However the animals are not safe yet. There is a second application for a licence from Karen Brewer on behalf of Cumbria Zoo Ltd. We strongly oppose this application also and call on the public to share the same level of outrage at this application as that of Mr Gill. Karen has been at the zoo for many years in a management position and was present at past zoo inspections, therefore with full knowledge of the issues raised. It would be utterly despicable to allow past management to continue on with this zoo.

This is not just about running a business and managing assets, this is about living, breathing animals who have clearly already endured so much. We should give those animals the chance to live out the best life possible going forward, not to be used in some kind of experiment to see if the next owner can do a better job.

One of the main functions of the Zoo Licensing Act is to protect animal welfare, providing mechanisms to close a zoo should it fail to do this. Surely there is not much more any zoo can do to present a case for closure? We have showed in our 2012 report ‘A Licence to Suffer’ that the existing law is not enough to protect animals, especially when the inspectors and council are not enforcing it. We urge the council to set an example by refusing the application from Karen Brewer, close the zoo down and move the animals to safety.

What needs to happen at a zoo before it will be closed down, in the interests of the animals and humans there? The animals in this zoo have suffered enough and it would be barbaric to simply allow someone else to come in and “have a go” at running this zoo. They should be removed to safety as soon as possible and this zoo closed forever.