§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
I have been asked to reply.
All zoos in Great Britain are licensed under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, the provisions of which are administered principally by the appropriate local authority.
Under the Act, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has laid down standards of modern zoo practice, which specify standards for ensuring animal welfare, in addition to the safety and security of visitors. These standards relate to all licensed zoos, insofar as they are applicable to the nature of the collection.
Licensed zoos are subject to regular inspections which fall within three categories: first a periodic inspection, approximately every three years, by a team of up to five inspectors chosen jointly by the local authority and the Secretary of State; secondly, an annual informal inspection conducted by a single inspector appointed by the local authority; and thirdly, a special inspection, which may be arranged at any time when the local authority considers that the circumstances warrant one.