Dublin Zoo to be investigated after whistleblower claims of animal mistreatment

Published date23 July 2022
Publication titleDublinLive (Ireland)
A spokesman for the Department of Housing, which oversees Dublin Zoo, told Dublin Live that "a full investigation of the allegations will be undertaken by the Department's zoo inspection and licensing unit."

The Zoo has "vehemently disputed" the claims and told Dublin Live that it "had called for an independent investigation into these allegations." It also said it "welcome the decision of the Zoos inspectorate, based in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), to carry out an independent investigation of the allegations."

Senator Annie Hoey told the Seanad earlier this month that she has had meetings with "both former and current staff members of Dublin Zoo" who made claims to her "a number of breaches of freedoms for animals" at the Zoo. The Senator said "the most detailed accounts" of such alleged breaches were recently made to her by a whistleblower via protected disclosure.

"Regarding animal welfare violations in Dublin Zoo I have been told by the whistleblower that there has been serious welfare issues, near misses, safety and management concerns at Dublin Zoo," Senator Hoey told the Seanad.

Senator Hoey got emotional as she began speaking about the case of the famous Harry the Gorilla.

"I want to tell you about Harry, the silverback gorilla, and I think we all know Harry because he was one of the most famous attractions in the zoo all throughout my childhood and into recent times," she read.

"Harry was a silverback male gorilla that died on May 29, 2016. Keepers consistently raised concerns leading up to his death and supported daily reports that his behaviour was abnormal.

"Keepers kept asking for a vet to examine him and eventually a vet was called and he died shortly after. This has had an adverse effect on the rest of the troop.

"This was one of the hardest stories for me to hear from the many staff I have spoken to, as the pain in their voice about how Harry was treated in the run up to his death was unbearable.

"I saw the photos of Harry at the end and he suffered greatly."

Senator Hoey also said staff members claimed that several animals have "gone missing" at the zoo. She said what she raised is "only a snapshot of the stories" shared to her "about the failing in animal welfare at Dublin Zoo".

A spokesman for Dublin Zoo told Dublin Live that they "vehemently dispute" the allegations of mistreatment "in the strongest possible terms" and said the allegations are "wholly misleading and contain inaccurate clinical assessments". He added...

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