Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 21:14 UK

Restrictions on petting at criticised animal farm

Dead wallaby
A dead wallaby was left to rot for weeks, according to the investigation

Details of the "precautionary steps" taken by a County Durham petting farm criticised for the care of its animals have been revealed.

The Captive Animals' Protection Society (Caps) claimed sick animals were untreated and dead ones left to rot at Tweddle Animal Farm.

Durham County Council said Tweddle Farm now had restrictions on the handling and touching of animals.

It said an enforcement notice was also in place regarding hand washing.

Caps, which campaigns to end animal captivity, also claimed the farm did not have the legally-required zoo licence.

Supervised feeding

In a statement the local authority said: "This is an extremely complex issue which we are working with a number of partners, including Defra, the Health and Safety Executive and the Health Protection Agency, to resolve.

"No application for a zoo licence has been received although the premises do hold a number of licences related to the keeping of animals."

It said the owners, Denise and Peter Wayman, had agreed to provide a plan with proposals to "voluntarily suspend the exhibition of their wild animals" until they were in a position to apply for a zoo licence.

The statement said Defra had inspected the premises twice in the past three months and had confirmed it had no animal welfare concerns other than the impact of "moving the animals off site should this be necessary".

With regards to the restrictions on the handling and touching of animals, it said it had been agreed that only supervised feeding of lambs would be allowed and participants would be escorted to the nearest hand-washing site following these sessions.

In response to Caps claims, Mr and Mrs Wayman said the farm was inspected by Defra two months ago and no problems were found.

Undercover investigation

Caps said it sent an investigator to work undercover at the farm, at Blackhall Colliery, which keeps monkeys, lemurs, llamas and wallabies, after receiving complaints from the public.

During the five-week investigation, the group claimed it uncovered evidence of animals being kept in inadequate enclosures, being fed junk food, animal staff working in the cafe and food being stored in dirty areas.

It also claims to have discovered E. coli in a petting area.

However Durham County Council said there had been no individual cases of E. coli or outbreaks reported to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).



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SEE ALSO
'Precautionary' measures at farm
31 Mar 10 |  England
'Welfare issues' at petting farm
30 Mar 10 |  England

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