Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Zoo cruelty claims are rejected

Noah's Ark Zoo entrance
North Somerset Council said animals were cared for by dedicated people

An investigation into a private zoo in Wraxall, North Somerset, has found allegations of animal cruelty were "grossly unfair".

North Somerset council looked into the running of Noah's Ark Zoo Farm after an animal rights charity claimed some animals were not well cared for.

A Noah's Ark spokesman said he was happy the claims had been rejected.

However zoo inspectors said there were some failures to comply with modern best-practice standards.

We would like to thank the hundreds of kind supporters who have stood by us
Zoo spokesman

The Captive Animal Protection Society had alleged that there were serious animal welfare problems at the zoo in Clevedon Road.

But following the claims local authority inspectors from North Somerset Council, which licenses the attraction, accompanied by two zoo inspectors, spent a day at the farm investigating the allegations.

They interviewed the proprietor and his staff, examined zoo records and carried out an inspection of the animal enclosures.

The zoo inspectors said that the allegations of cruelty were grossly unfair.

'Unwarranted opposition'

It did note there were some failures to comply with the Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice.

As a result tighter licence conditions have been imposed including bringing independent vets in to check every six months.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "These [allegations] have all been investigated and the report concludes that animals are generally well cared for by experienced and dedicated people.

They added: "We look forward to working with the owner to ensure that the zoo operates successfully, with all conditions fully complied with."

A spokesman for Noah's Ark Zoo Farm said he was happy the matter had been concluded.

"We are tired of this unwarranted opposition and delighted there is no justification for these actions.

"We would like to thank the hundreds of kind supporters who have stood by us."

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