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Born Free calls for overhaul of Zoo Licensing Act
The call follows the release of Born Free's new animation, Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown.

Charity says regular financial assessment should be key to the licensing process.

International wildlife charity Born Free is urging the government to review and reform the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 in a bid to “avert an animal welfare crisis”.

The charity says that a review of the existing legislation would “make the multi-million-pound zoo industry more accountable, transparent and humane.”

It follows the release of Born Free's new animation - Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown - which uses human reflections on COVID-19 to highlight the plight of wild animals living in captivity.

Born Free is calling for the publication of zoo inspection reports and annual species data, including data on causes of death. Currently, it is not required for this information to be declared externally, while inspection reports are only available through a Freedom of Information process.

The charity is also calling for greater conservation participation from zoos, and a clear published audit of each zoo's conservation and education commitment. It says that while zoos are legally required to participate in education and conservation, the required level is minimal and the process is neither transparent nor consistent.

Dr Chris Draper, Born Free’s head of animal welfare and captivity, said: “When it was enacted in the 1980s, the Zoo Licensing Act was a progressive step to provide a minimum level of protection for animals in zoos.

“But time has marched on and it is clear that more is now needed; not only to meet the complex needs of wild animals in zoos, and to avert an animal welfare crisis if and when zoos close, but also to match public expectations of the role of zoos, allowing people to make clear judgements about whether zoos are – or are not - contributing meaningfully to conservation and education”.

Other measures proposed by Born Free include the centralisation of licensing of zoos and a permanent zoo inspectorate. It says that a centralised licencing body would allow for surveillance of the whole zoo sector, and avoid serious, long-standing concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

Born Free is also calling for an assessment of medium to long-term financial viability, plus mandatory zoo insurance bond in the event of closure or crisis.

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Government to run free webinars on exporting horses

News Story 1
 The UK government has announced that it will be running two free webinars for horse owners and exporters, explaining what steps to take to export horses from 1 January 2021.

The first webinar will take place on Tuesday 20 October 2020, from 9.30am to 11am. It will cover Export Health Certificate (EHC) requirements from 1 January 2021. Click here to register.

The second webinar will take place on Wednesday 4 November 2020, from 10.30am to 12pm. This session will focus on the steps that businesses need to take to export equines from the UK to the EU. Click here to register.

For more information on exporting horses and ponies after 1 January 2021, please visit the gov.uk website. 

Click here for more...
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More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.