28 Oct 2021

MPs debated the new Animal Welfare Bill and took the opportunity to stress the INVALUABLE role that zoos play in preventing extinction.


Earlier this week, MPs participated in the second reading of the Animal Welfare Bill. The was the first opportunity for parliamentarians to debate one of the Government’s flagship pieces of animal legislation, which covers a wide range of issues including puppy smuggling and banning the keeping of primates as pets.

Pertinent to us, the Bill also includes measures designed to monitor conservation standards across UK zoos. As a major wildlife conservation charity and world leader in animal care, we very much welcome the Government’s increased focus on animal wellbeing. We’re also supportive of the ambition to further enhance conservation standards across our sector.

As a conservation powerhouse, we believe that all zoos should aspire to achieve the greatest possible conservation impact.

In recent weeks, we’ve been working closely with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to develop and refine our sector’s response to the Bill. We’ve been extensively briefing parliamentarians and making direct representations to Defra civil servants. We’ve also been engaging with other zoos and supporting them to lobby their local MPs.

We ask the Government that they ensure their new conservation standards fully reflect and acknowledge the breadth of work carried out by our zoo, and other quality zoos. Vital work ranges from conservation breeding, scientific research, overseas and UK field work, and educating our visitors to live more sustainably.

We’ve also been seeking reassurances about how the Government plans to ensure transparency and accountability in relation to any future changes affecting UK zoos and aquariums.

During the debate an overwhelming amount of support was shown. Zoos were mentioned a total of 140 times, more than any other topic, by politicians from four different parties.

We were particularly grateful to Sarah Champion MP, Chair of the International Development Select Committee and member of the zoos and aquariums group in parliament. She spoke passionately about her experience of Chester Zoo:

” Earlier this year, I visited Chester zoo to see for myself its OUTSTANDING work. The zoo has been working with schools to build its curriculum around conservation and engaging thousands of pupils with the topic. Over the next decade it will help to train 5,000 conservationists as part of its conservation training academy. “

Sarah Champion, Member of Parliament, UK


“Not only are zoos exceptional at caring for animals and providing a fantastic day out, they do PHENOMENAL conservation work. We must make sure that the definition of conservation is not too narrow, and reflects all the excellent work that zoos carry out.”


Zoos like ours are conservation powerhouses. Our Conservation Masterplan aims to build on our success and sets out a road map for the delivery of our mission of PREVENTING EXTINCTION through close integration of our many different types of conservation work. 


TOGETHER we can create a better world for wildlife.

Achieving our mission of preventing extinction requires a COLLABORATIVE APPROACH! We work with a wide range of amazing people and organisations, including our visitors and members. Our dedicated conservation team works tirelessly to protect all the rich biodiversity of our world. Read more about our conservation and science efforts…