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Zoo Animals

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of llamas and alpacas kept (a) in zoos and (b) outside zoos in the United Kingdom. [129338]

As the licensing of zoos is a function for local authorities, there are no central records for the numbers of different species kept in zoos. The British Llama and Alpaca Association's own figures indicate that there are in the region of 2,700 llamas and 4,500–5,500 alpacas in private ownership in the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to provide a general exemption for keepers of llamas and alpacas from the requirement to hold a zoo licence. [129339]

The advice received from the Zoos Forum is that New World Camelids such as llamas and alpacas have not been kept in this country in sufficient numbers for sufficient time for them to be considered "normally domesticated in Great Britain" and they therefore fall within the scope of zoo licensing legislation.Keepers of llamas and alpacas wishing to exhibit their animals to the public for seven days or more in any period of 12 consecutive months are therefore required to apply for a zoo licence. However, establishments displaying small numbers of llamas and alpacas may be eligible for a full exemption from the Act or for dispensations from the full inspection regime. I consider each case on its own merits.