Belfast zoo: Born Free reaction


Born Free is disappointed by Belfast City Council’s recent reaffirmed support for future investment in Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland.

Samantha Goddard, Born Free’s Campaigns Officer, said: “Born Free, as communicated to the councillors, remains convinced that a planned and gradual phase out of the zoo in its current form, is the necessary action to take. We believe steps should be taken to end imports and breeding at the zoo, and conditions improved for the remaining animals – this would ensure the most humane and appropriate solution for the zoo’s animals. Unless significant – and expensive – action is taken, the zoo’s ageing infrastructure will continue to compromise the behaviour and welfare of the animals.

“Despite the council’s proposal to ensure ‘a conservation-centred future at the zoo’, it is important to note that threatened animal species comprise a minority of the zoo’s collection. Born Free doubts the council’s claim that it will end the financial burden of the zoo on Belfast taxpayers, after years of barely sustaining a zoo that has seen falling visitor numbers in recent years. The zoo has had numerous high-profile animal escapes reported and Born Free has observed poor conditions first-hand. 

“It may take some months for the council to outline its plan to revitalise Belfast Zoo, but Born Free will continue to monitor the situation and reinforce our position that a strategic phase-out remains the most sensible approach,” Goddard added.