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Zoos
Zoo licensing system: ‘not fit for purpose’

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Barrow Borough Council's decision to grant a licence to a failing zoo under new management has led to demands for an independent zoo inspectorate.

Problems at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, Cumbria, led the council to refuse previous owner David Gill a licence earlier this year, after inspections showed repeated serious animal welfare and public safety issues.

On May 12, Mr Gill withdrew an appeal against Barrow council's decision to rescind his licence and stood aside as a director. The Cumbria Zoo Company was granted a licence instead.

Now the Born Free Foundation, which brought the zoo's failings (such as animal escapes, and deaths from malnutrition and predation) to public notice, believes the licensing system needs radical reform.

Chris Draper, the charity's associate director of welfare, said that, despite the management-led takeover by the …

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