E coli scandal at UK zoo that left dead animals to rot
Posted: March 27th, 2010 - 10:45pm by Doug Powell
Who knows what goes on in these petting zoos in the U.K., Canada or the U.S., but it appears to be a mess. That’s why kids get sick every year.
A feature in tomorrow’s (today’s) Sunday Times alleges that E. coli O157 was found at a popular children’s petting zoo where dead animals were openly left to rot for weeks.
An undercover reporter who spent several weeks working as a volunteer at the unlicensed zoo discovered:
- Corpses of animals left to decompose near where visiting children play.
- Staff alternating between working with the animals and helping out in the visitors’ cafe, wearing the same clothes and shoes.
- Cafe food stored next to dirty parrot cages.
- No hot water for handwashing except in the cafe kitchen. One worker said there had been no hot water in the toilets for five years.
- Animals suffering with painful diseases and fed inappropriate food such as chocolate, lollipops and marshmallows.
-A swab taken from the faeces of a pig in a petting area showed E coli O157 in laboratory tests.
Last year several outbreaks at petting zoos across Britain caused a number of children to require medical treatment.
Tweddle Children’s Animal Farm, which opened in Blackhall Colliery, Co Durham, five years ago, is open seven days a week, all year round, and offers family season tickets to encourage repeat visits. Its website claims it is “bursting with animal fantasticness [sic].”
The farm has a range of exotic animals, such as monkeys, ostriches, buffalo, camels and lemurs. Yet it has no zoo licence, which is a legal requirement. Only regularly inspected zoos can have a licence.
The owners, Denise and Peter Wayman, could now be prosecuted under the Zoo Licensing Act and possibly under the Animal Welfare Act.