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Systemic failings at Cumbrian zoo

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A CATALOGUE of failures – spanning almost 20 years at a Cumbrian zoo – has exposed weaknesses in the zoo inspection system and led to calls for local authorities to have wider powers to close zoos deemed to be dangerous.

South Lakes Safari Zoo has remained open for business despite years of management criticism, health and safety breaches, animal deaths and lack of response to conditions demanded of it.

Owner David Gill was given his licence by Barrow Borough Council in 1994, and despite a long list of improvement conditions, public complaints and submissions by animal welfare organisations concerning the way the zoo was run, the licence was maintained until March 6 this year, when the council finally revoked it.

In a series of reports, zoo inspectors urged the local authority to withhold a new licence due to evidence of poor animal health and nutrition, overstocking, badly …

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