HC Deb 22 March 2000 vol 346 cc543-4W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what controls exist in respect of the methods used to cull diseased stock at(a) zoos and (b) safari parks; and if he will make a statement. [115276]

Mr. Mullin

[holding answer 21 March 2000]: In accordance with the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, all zoos and safari parks in the UK must be licensed by the appropriate local authority.

Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State make recommendations to local authorities whether to grant a licence. In doing so, they are required to take account of the Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice.

There is no guidance on culling in the existing Standards issued in 1988. Earlier this month, I published new Standards which include a requirement that zoos and safari parks must have a policy that ensures humane and timely euthanasia to minimise suffering. Such a course of action may be justifiable under certain conditions, particularly if an animal poses a serious and unavoidable threat to human safety. However, it should not take place without guidance from a veterinary surgeon. The actual method involved will vary depending on the species of animal in question. The new Standards come into force on 3 April.