We have an important petition live, calling on the public to help animals held captive at South Lakes Zoo, and to join us in demanding that Westmorland and Furness Council closes down the zoo. 

Freedom for Animals, alongside other animal protection groups, has campaigned for the closure of South Lakes Safari Zoo (aka Cumbria Safari Zoo) for many years, due to continued failings and serious allegations of animal neglect. The zoo was originally investigated by Freedom for Animals over six years ago in 2017, after a shocking council report documented that 486 animals had tragically died there within a 3-year period.

Investigation reports published in 2021 yet again highlighted serious animal welfare issues such as:

  • Significant overcrowding - with many herd species such as zebras, rhinos, nyala and wildebeest all being held in solitary confinement due to a lack of space and poor drainage.
  • Insufficient heating - often leading to the huddling of animals and inappropriate interspecies contact.
  • Lack of enrichment in all enclosures - leading to zoochosis in many animals and obvious stereotypies being exhibited, including neck twisting in the giraffes and sustained pacing in the wolves.

Two further investigations by the Born Free Foundation in October 2022, and by Freedom for Animals in December 2022, showed that the previously raised concerns have not been addressed, and that, sadly, nothing has improved for the animals held captive at South Lakes Zoo.

The crucial evidence gathered led to a council inspection taking place in November 2022, and the results were finally discussed at a meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council in February this year. Concerningly, the results state that not only have the council, yet again, failed to challenge South Lakes Zoo on the poor conditions that have been inexcusably unresolved since their last council visit in 2021, the council have also allowed a 1-year reprieve to provide the necessary changes. Forcing the animals held captive to suffer inadequate and disgraceful conditions for a further year is completely unacceptable.

The disgraceful history of South Lakes Zoo’s animal welfare breaches is considerable and yet, somehow they have been allowed to continue due to Westmorland and Furness Council failing to take appropriate and robust enforcement action. 

For too long, South Lakes Zoo has swept animal neglect and suffering under the carpet. Westmorland and Furness Council continues to be complicit by failing to improve the lives of the many animals held captive there and following up on their concerns in inspections. Help animals by showing your support for this petition today!

By signing the petition, you will join us in demanding Westmorland and Furness Council to:

  • Permanently revoke South Lakes Zoo’s zoo licence, and permanently close the zoo.
  • Facilitate the removal of all animals held captive at South Lakes Zoo to appropriate and accredited sanctuaries, so they can be assessed for release or, if release is not possible, live the remainder of their lives in the best possible environment, where breeding is prohibited and human interactions limited.

Please sign this petition to show your support for the campaign, and help animals today!