herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Tayto Park may have to provide animal deaths list

Tayto Park
Tayto Park

Zoos may be required to provide inspectors with copies of inventories showing how many animals died in their care from next year.

It follows a move by Tayto Park that kept the information out of the public domain.

The theme park in Co Meath discontinued the practice of providing zoo inspectors with records last year on foot of an "internal review".

However, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said zoos may now be required to supply copies "as a matter of course" after the issue was raised in a Dail question.

Tayto Park previously sought to prevent the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) from publishing animal inventories in 2017. It claimed that the information would damage its business.

Up to last year, NPWS officials were provided with copies of animal censuses during annual inspections as part of the licensing process.

They can now examine the records on site, but are not given a copy.

Census

This means the government agency does not hold a copy of the inventory, so it cannot be accessed under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. Both Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park publish census data in their annual reports.

A spokesperson for Tayto Park said:"We provided the inventory, along with these new documents, for review by the inspectors during their on-site inspection process.

"Upon review… the zoo inspectors commented in the report that.. 'there were no concerns noted on review of the animal stock lists'."

Records released under the FOI Act show that 30 animals - or 7.9pc of its collection - died in 2016. The mortality rate decreased to 6.7pc the next year.

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