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Dublin Zoo- allegations by zookeepers of cruelty to the animals

  • 17-07-2022 5:23pm
    Registered Users Posts: 19,495 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    Labour Senator Anne Hoey used parlimentary privledge to represent current and former zoo keepers at Dublin Zoo who have made allegations of cruelty to animals in the zoo. They are saying there was not adequate response from vets to a sick zebra, girarffe and silverback gorilla all who suffered before their deaths despite keepers calling out for veterinary care. In the case of the giraffe keepers were instructed to delete videos of how she suffered before her death. One zookeeper has made a protected disclosure on the matter and Senator Ann Hoey read the concerns of many zookeepers into the Seanad Record-

    "A number of months ago, I began a series of meetings with both former and current staff members in Dublin Zoo. Through this engagement, I've been made aware of a number of breaches of these freedoms for animals and Dublin Zoo, the most detailed accounts of which have recently been issued to me by a whistle-blower via protected disclosure regarding animal welfare management failings and Dublin Zoo. I've been told by the whistle-blower that there's been serious welfare issues near misses, safety and management concerns at Dublin Zoo.

    "Because I've exhausted all options for Dublin Zoo grievance procedures, which failed to act on my concerns, I feel I've no option but to expose my experiences of what I witnessed in the zoo. In the motion before today, there was reference to animals' rights, freedom from pain, injury and disease. And I want to tell you about Kildare the Zebra who was not free from that freedom, the female zebra Kildare died after complications during a tooth extraction procedure on the 2nd December 2020. She was darted twice and suffered from Capture Myopathy. She was kept alive even though staff requested the animal be euthanized.

    "The tooth was extracted, and the animal was severely paralysed, when she came around from the anaesthetic - the animal was left to recover overnight. After no change, the animal was going to be hung overnight in a harness, even though she was severely paralysed. One staff member pleaded at the end of the second day to end the animal suffering. Management and the veterinary team were planning to leave her hanging the hardness overnight, despite being severely paralysed, staff were extremely distraught after witnessing the zebras' treatment, and they felt they could not raise concerns for fear of reprisals.

    "Kildare was featured on the zoo TV series and the 26th June 2022. And the motion before us today there was reference to animals' freedom from pain, injury and disease. And I want to tell you about me the giraffe who died only last month. Staff were informed at a meeting by a Team Leader in March that Maeve was on watch meaning, that she'd be on quality of life assessment. Maeve had not been observed consistently or being assessed to determine her quality of life, and there was no quality of life assessment filled out from March until her death on the 28th of June 2022 where staff had to watch her lay and slowly die while kicking out trying to gain her footing.

    "This should never have happened to Maeve or her keepers. After her death and post mortem staff were called to a meeting and offered counselling and then told to delete any videos of Maeve and how she died. And this is another attempt by Dublin zoo to intimidate and conceal the wrongdoing of animal welfare problems. And before Maeve's death, I saw photos of her gaunt frame and her bones sticking out and she was clearly an extremely unwell animal and the motion before today, there was reference to animals right to freedom from pain, injury and disease. And I want to tell you about Harry the Silverback Gorilla and I think we all know about Harry as he was one of the most famous attractions in the zoo all throughout my childhood and into recent times. Harry was a Silverback male gorilla and died on the 29th of May 2016. Keepers consistently raised concerns leading up to his death to supported daily reports that his behaviour was abnormal. He was losing weight and his condition (worsensed). Keepers repeatedly asked for a vet to examine him. And eventually a vet was called and he died shortly afterwards and this has had an adverse effect on the rest of the troop.

    "This is one of the hardest stories for me to hear from the many staff I spoke to as the pain in their voice over how he was treated and the run up to his death was unbearable. And I sanitised the details here as I don't think I could read all of them out. But I saw the photos of Harry at the end and he suffered greatly. I have seen photos and photographs of the animals I've mentioned here today and the visible unnecessary suffering they will have to endure is unfathomable. And ta mo chroi briste.

    "This is not what care and compassion for animals is supposed to look like. This is not the standard of care which we as members of the public and of the parliament have come to expect from Dublin zoo, a much trusted and beloved public institute. However, the pain of sick and dying animals are not the only animal welfare issues that were detailed to me in the protected disclosure from the former and current staff I have spoken to. There is a major breach of guidelines happening in the form of missing animals. And the motion before us today, there was reference to animals' freedom from fear and distress. In November 2019 two crested macaques went missing or presumed dead. In February, and March of this year, a white collared mangabey went missing, also presumed dead, despite staff raising the issue of them not being found management have not looked thoroughly for these animals or raised the public's awareness in the event, that members of the public were to encounter it, staff raised their concerns of the two missing animals saying there were 24 but now there are only 22 in the group, the team leader said, but there was always 22, insisting that the keepers could not count to 20. A crested cockatoo escaped on the 21st May 2022 from its Avery, this is a critically endangered species and since its escape, there's been no effort to locate the animal or raise the public's awareness if they were to see such a bird and the hope of being able to return it to the zoo.

    "The zoo has failed to follow any protocols to either retrieve the animals or inform or warn the public to either retrieve the animal or to prevent anyone sustaining an injury from one of the missing animals. And I'm nearly done. What I raised today is only a snapshot of the stories which I've been sharing to be about the failings in animal welfare and Dublin Zoo. I have pages and pages and pages of testimony from both current and former staff, and I was on the phone until very, very late last night, hearing more stories that I don't have time to go through today. These events are not in the far past, they're also happening quite recently, I've outlined some very recent breaches"

    Dublin Zoo management are denying the allegations and saying that they are based on "inaccurate clinical assessments" which seems to be suggesting the zookeepers are not vets and therefore their opinion on animals in clear pain doesnt matter. Yet the zookeepers were offered counselling after they watched the suffering that the giraffe went through and were told to delete videos of that suffering.

    The above allegations are just the tip of the iceberg, the Senator stated she has pages and pages of written allegations from the group of zookeepers that she has spoken with.


  • The zoo is going to play the following PR cards regardless, "Certain veterinary drugs could not be obtained due to 1. Golbal Pandemic 2. Brexit: We had solid relationship with Kew Gardens Zoo in London, blame the British government for messing it all up"

    Blame somebody else.

    EDIT: Don't forget the incident where the Tapir bit the kid a few years ago. Cost Dublin Zoo a fair bit in legal costs. I remember the whole issue just 'going away' too....

    I haven't been inside the zoo for years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 38,376 ✭✭✭✭Annasopra

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    Terry Pratchet

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Just got home after my day's work in the abattoir - very hot it was too. Today we killed 700 cattle, 400 sheep and 300 pigs. I await Senator Hoey's shrieks of middle class outrage.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,847 ✭✭✭✭Overheal

    Were any of them made to purposefully suffer in similar conditions to those of any of the animals entrusted to the Dublin Zoo?

    If not I hardly see how this is a point of comparison.

    The US for example in the last few years passed a national criminal statute for animal abuse - finally. Did you know: that law didn't criminalize the butchering of livestock for food? Crazy right!? Almost like abattoirs etc. are already covered by humanitarian laws and regulations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,233 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    But where these animals abused ?

    Making serious accusations of poor animal welfare standards without approaching the clinical veterinary expertise at Dublin Zoo or the independent bodies responsible for auditing animal welfare standards in Ireland makes it seem like this may not be about animal welfare & more of an attack on the zoo could be for a number of reasons,

    Story one : the staff outraged with the VET

    Story two : the staff outraged VET wasn't called ,

    The case of the Zebra "staff requested the animal be euthanized" but surely the veterinary team made the call based on previous experience & hope that the animal would receiver it didn't that happens to animals & humans , What interest would the VET have in abusing an animal ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 78,847 ✭✭✭✭Overheal

    But where these animals abused ?

    That's indeed the allegation, the Oireachtas should appoint an investigation then.

    Get *everyone's story*, records, cross examine things, apply the law.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,168 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,221 ✭✭✭Allinall

    That’s not the job of the Oireachtas.

    Did the senator make a complaint to the guards, and if not, why not?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 38,376 ✭✭✭✭Annasopra

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    Terry Pratchet

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,168 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    I thought it was your quote. If not, I apologise.

    Plus why am I not normal?

  • Posts: 8,856 ✭✭✭ Tommy Tiny Explosion

    I read this article a few days ago- I couldn’t determine the outrage. If these are the best examples ( and you’d imagine she’d lead with the strongest examples)- then it’s much ado over very little imo- it’s all centered around vet procedure which I’d say is fluid and open to interpretation at the best of times.

    A senator looking to get noticed for her next career move is the most I took from that story- also I’d doubt the people she interviewed were professional zoo keepers- more like interns or junior staff or former staff with a gripe who didn’t understand that not all animals are pets and sometimes you have to try a procedure which might be uncomfortable but not cruel to an animal if the long term gain is extended life and pain free .

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Oh don't worry - we went out of our way to make those poor dumb animals suffer! I read them two verses of Michael dee Higgins's "poetry" - after which they pleaded with me to put them down immediately.

    (Mind you, if that hadn't done the trick, then I'd have read them some of Senator Hoey's woke Seanad speeches!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,383 ✭✭✭An Ri rua

    You can have mine. The slaughter, for physical gratification, is totally unnecessary and nothing to be proud of.

    Oh, and there's nothing remotely dumb about the animals you listed. If you choose to take life, you should be respectful and professional about it, not joke about what is a very serious endeavour, regardless of its industrialised, desensitised modern nature.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,620 ✭✭✭donaghs

    Thanks for another short pointless contribution to another discussion. So where do you stand on the issue? Only asking rhetorically, I don’t need to read a response like “you should know” , or “really”. Etc.

    When you dig in behind the headlines, there doesn’t seem to be many serious allegations, yet. Perhaps that will change. The allegations I read seem to be open to interpretation, and I think expert opinion from vets could challenge them.

    But if the senator chose lead with these allegations, it’s probably the best she has, and I’d suspect it’s just self-promotion stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 263 ✭✭SnazzyPig

    So you would let someone drown because of a sarcastic post on an internet forum?

    Way To Go!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,383 ✭✭✭An Ri rua

    I deleted my contempt in my earlier post but, yes, assuming someone was not trolling and was genuinely expressing their opinion as to how they operate in their job slaughtering sentient animals, and being disrespectful about it, yes I would. For those who glorify animal slaughter and deny them the truth (that they are sentient, quite clever have emotions, but you want to taste their flesh), then I wouldnt bat an eyelid. If you're going to kill something, at least be honest and respectful. That goes for all flesh eaters. While I don't agree with animal husbandry, it can be (and often is) done in a compassionate way. Very few dairy farmers would like to hear disrespect being directed at the cows they've known for years and now sent for slaughter. I'm as long around farming as Im vegan to know there's kindness in horror and horror in kindness. But there's no grounds for calling sentient creatures dumb. Its a tad ironic.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]