Council hosts zoo training seminar

Zoo licensing seminar
Zoo licensing seminar

Central Bedfordshire Council hosted a seminar at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable to advise other authorities on undertaking successful zoo inspections.

The seminar was attended by over 50 different local authorities who were seeking to find out more on the process of undertaking a high standard zoo inspection.

Richard Johns at the Zoo seminar

Richard Johns at the Zoo seminar

Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, local authorities must undertake zoo inspections before and after issuing a zoo licence.

Licences are initially provided for a period of four years, with subsequent renewal licences issued for a period of six years.

Central Bedfordshire has three successful zoos in the area, including Whipsnade which is the largest zoo in the UK. The council has two experienced officers who inspect each zoo on a yearly basis, they also employ veterinary surgeons and other animal welfare and zoo specialists to assist.

The conference covered a range of topics, including pre-inspection preparations, when to carry out special special inspections when things go wrong, typical complaints and issues, and how to enforce and improve standards at zoos.

Caroline Maudlin at the  Zoo seminar

Caroline Maudlin at the Zoo seminar

Central Bedfordshire councillor Caroline Maudlin welcomed those to the seminar, followed by talks by experts from organisations.

Richard Johns, Environmental Health Officer at the council, said: “We were very pleased and proud to host this event and welcome such a large number of guests. This sort of training isn’t widely offered, so it was great to share our expertise with other authorities. Our seminar provided an excellent opportunity to share the effective zoo inspection knowledge that we as a council have gained.”