Minister rejects calls for a Welsh Zoo Support Fund

With the UK Government having set up a fund to support zoos and aquariums in England, Clwyd West MS Darren Millar is disappointed that the Welsh Government yesterday rejected his calls for such a fund to be established in Wales.  

The UK Government recently announced that it would be providing animal welfare grants of up to £100,000 for zoos or aquariums affected by coronavirus, prompting Darren to call on the Welsh Government to follow suit.

During yesterday’s virtual Welsh Parliament plenary meeting, he raised the matter with the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS,

He said:

“Minister, you've consistently talked about animal welfare since you were appointed to this important role. One thing that you could do to support animal welfare in the current crisis is to establish a Welsh Zoos Support Fund.

“You'll be aware that the UK Government established a £14 million Zoo Support Fund to support animal welfare in zoos, aquariums and other animal attractions in England to help get them through the coronavirus pandemic.

“That fund provides up to £100,000, on top of the other support that it is already available from the Treasury, in recognition that zoos still have animals that have to be cared for in spite of the fact that they're closed and not receiving anything in terms of income from ticket sales. 

“This sort of fund could provide a huge boost to animal attractions across Wales, including the Welsh Mountain Zoo in my constituency, and places like Anglesey Sea Zoo, Rhyl SeaQuarium and other places in North Wales. Will you commit today to establishing a Welsh zoo support fund to support animal welfare in our zoos and animal attractions across Wales?”

In her response, the Minister said that the Welsh Government would not be committing to such as scheme as “zoos were able to apply for funding from the economic resilience scheme.”

Speaking after the meeting, Darren said:

“I was very disappointed by the Minister’s response. With nobody currently allowed to visit zoos and other animal attractions in Wales, they are really struggling and desperately need support if they are to survive. The UK Government recognised this and provided a special fund to support them, it’s a great shame that the Welsh Government are not prepared to provide the same level of support to our fantastic zoos here in Wales.”