Dublin Zoo denies animal abuse allegations

Dublin Zoo has strongly denied the allegations of animal abuse after the matter was raised at Seanad on Thursday.

Labor Senator Annie Hoey raised a number of concerns during a Green Party motion on animal welfare, saying she had received reports of ‘serious welfare issues’ from a pitcher alert via protected disclosure.

“I was told by the whistleblower that there were serious welfare issues, near misses, security and management issues at Dublin Zoo,” Hoey said on Thursday.

She said current and former members of staff have also informed her of “a number of breaches” of the five animal welfare freedoms.

The whistleblower clarified that a zebra named Kildare had no right to be free from pain, injury and disease, according to Hoey.

The zebra died on December 2, 2020, from complications during a tooth extraction.

Hoey pointed out that the zebra suffered from capture myopathy, a condition with high levels of morbidity that occurs in wild animals that have experienced high levels of stress.

The whistleblower alleged the zebra was kept alive even though zoo staff pleaded for her to be euthanized.

“The tooth was extracted and the animal was severely paralyzed when it came back from anesthesia,” Hoey said. “The animal was going to be suspended overnight in a harness, even though it was severely paralyzed. A staff member pleaded at the end of the second day to end the animal’s suffering.

“Staff were extremely distraught after witnessing the treatment of the zebra and felt they could not voice their concerns for fear of retaliation.”

CW: animal welfare

Today I stood up for the welfare of animals and workers at Dublin Zoo.

The bravery of people who help expose the mistreatment of certain animals in their care deserves a swift and firm response from the government.

Full video https://t.co/2vL5Cytyyy pic.twitter.com/CreGERtlWe

— Annie Hoey 🌱 (@hoeyannie) July 14, 2022

In a statement, Dublin said it “vehemently disputes” the allegations and “opposes in the strongest possible terms the manner in which these allegations have been made without any engagement with Dublin Zoo”.

A zoo spokesperson told the Irish Times that the claims were “completely misleading and contain inaccurate clinical assessments“.

“Issues raised by staff members regarding animal welfare at Dublin Zoo are treated with the utmost sensitivity and seriousness and are thoroughly investigated. management or anonymously.”

Dublin Zoo invited Hoey to the zoo to discuss the allegations.

Hoey said she had only read a “snapshot of the stories” told to her by zoo staff, saying she had “page and page of testimonials from current and former staff”.

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