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Report finds “no evidence” of welfare abuses at Dublin Zoo

According to a report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, there is “no evidence” to support the allegations of ongoing serious welfare breaches at Dublin Zoo.

Last July, Labour Senator Annie Hoey said in the Seanad that current and former staff members had alleged that there were animal welfare abuses at the zoo – allegations which the zoo said at the time it “vehemently disputes.”

This prompted an investigation from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which looked into 23 such accusations.

According to the report, of the 23 complaints listed, 17 were “unfounded with no evidence supplied to support the narrative of the allegation.”

A further two had “no basis or evidence to even substantiate the allegation.”

Three of them were found to have “some evidence” supporting a “historical allegation.” However, “Dublin Zoo had already resolved the case’ with changes in ‘process, facility or management’.”

Only one case was “considered to be supported as per the stated allegation,” relating to the development of a new red panda enclosure “as per the recommendations of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria best practice guidelines.”

However, the report says that this recommendation was examined by the Zoo’s management, and that “in the professional opinion and experience of Dublin Zoo it was not considered a concern by the senior team – which the investigation team recognised as being justifiable.”

The report says that the team was “satisfied that there was no evidence submitted to the team that supported the allegations made of ongoing serious welfare breaches.”

The detailed report, which involved the examination of 480 records (process documents and clinical assessments) and 52 hours of testimony, vindicates Dublin Zoo and reaffirms that animal welfare is our number one priority and the foundation stone of all that we do,” the Zoo said on the findings.

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