Born Free challenges the UK zoo industry and lobbies for policy change.

We investigate, expose suffering and neglect, and recommend improvements to animal welfare and legislation, while encouraging an informed public to consider directing their support away from the keeping of wild animals in zoos and instead protect them in their natural habitat.

As a priority, Born Free is calling for the following actions in the UK:

  • The publication and independent review of summary statistics on the causes of animal deaths in UK zoos 
  • Establishment of a full-time and centralised independent zoo inspectorate to ensure consistency in the licensing and inspection of UK zoos
  • When considering planning applications for the development of UK zoos and similar facilities, the introduction of a mechanism to assess whether the animals’ welfare is likely to comply with existing animal-keeping legislation and standards before permission to build is granted
  • An end to the import of elephants into the UK, the introduction of moratorium on the breeding of elephants in UK zoos, and an end to the use of ‘free-contact’ handling of elephants and the use of the bullhook
  • Removal of the legal exemption which permits the pinioning (wing mutilation to prevent flight) of birds in UK zoos.


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