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Northumberland Falconry

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by vogelcommando, 7 Oct 2014.

  1. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm very aware of this one and have been following the story for some time, as the place is a few miles from where Helly lives.

    Basically, they used to be open purely for booked falconry and owl experiences, then last summer extended their facilities and started allowing drop-in visitors, who would pay an admission fee to look around the site at the birds, whilst still maintaining the bookable experiences. Then a few months ago the council caught wind of this and told them that if they were opening to the public full-time they would need a zoo licence. The owners refused on the basis they do not keep species such as zebra and bears and so forth, and are thus not a zoo.

    It's a bit of a sad situation as it is a very nice place - just boils down to the perennial argument on what makes a zoo a zoo......
     
  3. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    I think from a legal standpoint a falconry centre most certainly is a zoo. I remember the owner of Loch Lomond Falconry Centre being very proud of the fact!

    So I don't really think they have a leg to stand on, I'm afraid...
     
  4. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    I fully agree that if this falconry centre is open to the general public and charging admission then the premises should be licensed by the local authority, in this case a zoo licence. I do find the annual licence fee of £2000 per annum however to be excessive for a small establishment with only about fifty birds in its collection, this I assume would be the same licence fee charged by this local authority to someone who opened a zoo in Northumberland the size of Whipsnade with elephants, tigers, rhinos etc. I think this is unfair to a small establishment which will hardly be taking mega bucks at the pay box, a reduced licence fee would be appropriate in my opinion, and remember it is illegal for a local authority to make a profit from a licence fee.
     
  5. Paradoxurus

    Paradoxurus Well-Known Member

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    There is absolutely no disputing that, under the legal definition, this is a zoo.

    Firstly, zoo licenses are not issued on an annual basis (and if it does actually say this in the article then it is erroneous). The regularity of the renewal/inspections is based on all sorts of circumstances such as the nature of the collection, the addition of new exhibits, the types of animals kept, any improvement notices issued etc. My guess is that the £2000 would be for an initial application/inspection. Renewals usually take place every four years.

    I don't think the article gives enough detail regarding the breakdown of that £2000 to make the assumption that it is solely the license fee. By far the greatest expense when applying for a zoo license is paying he expenses of the inspectors who are engaged to assess the collection. In actual fact someone who opened a zoo in Northumberland the size of Whipsnade with elephants, tigers, rhinos etc would have to stump up considerably more than a small establishment with only about fifty birds in its collection as the inspection process would be a far more demanding task.
     
  6. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    I just assumed the £2000 fee was an annual charge, if it spread over four years then perhaps it is not as bad, of coarse each local authority will have its own fees and length of license period, even so I do think £2000 is quite a large sum for a small establishment to have to stump up, I hope it does not result in closure for this centre as zoological attractions in the North East of England are very few and far between.
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe the matter is not the money, as they are paying thousands of pounds on lawyers and court fees to attempt to prove they are not a zoo - it is the label of *being* a zoo they object to.
     
  8. Waddi

    Waddi Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it's time for the legislation to be updated, and the word "Zoo" removed to avoid these situations, maybe a "public display of captive animals license" instead. What's other people's thoughts?
     
  9. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I don't really see that it matters what the liscence is called. Whether a place has a zoo license or not doesn't dictate what they have to call themselves. They can still call themselves a falconry can't they?
    :)
     
  10. Paradoxurus

    Paradoxurus Well-Known Member

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    The current wording is perfectly adequate.
     
  11. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    zoo news digest on Facebook has had a bit of an online scrap between the owner and a few others. It certainly seems he is against all zoos but his own! I think we have heard this from other zoo owners in the past! No matter what you call it, if it is open for more than 7 days a year and has paid public visitors to non domestic animals then it is a zoo In the eyes of the law.
     
  12. bigcat speciali

    bigcat speciali Well-Known Member

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    March this year according to their (Falconry Days) FB page they said this: “Zoo update, Because our birds are classed as being Hazardous, and we have 1 Saker Falcon that is on the IUCN red list we are a Zoo, the saker falcon belonged to a breeder that was going to knock it on the head because she is old.
    If I change our advertising to say please ring to make an appointment then we are not a Zoo, If a member of the Public turns up at the gate without an appointment and we allow them to pay an entry fee we are a Zoo. the Pub that keeps birds of prey in a cage in the beer garden for people to look at is not a Zoo or anything other that a Pub, no checks no licence nothing..... #MAD"

    & in August they posted a picture of a van with "mobile petting zoo" blazed on it sides. Mr French said: "This is a good one, this company are advertising themselves as zoo...so you would think a zoo should have a zoo licence. .well you would be wrong."

    There is this comment on Mr French's Falconry Days FB page where he is replying to a female who disagree with him: "Forbes I did not set up falconry days to be a zoo, we do not keep birds to be on display, our birds are kept and trained to fly and do the many jobs we train them for such as falconry displays, wedding ring delivery, pest control, experience days and for hunting, none of these activities are zoo activities, The zoo act is not fit for purpose and allows many such zoos to pretend that they are conservation centres, most are at best entertainment parks that use animals as live exhibits stuck in a cage for life, that is not what we do at falconry days. I know one bird of prey centre that has a zoo licence and has kept a tropical screech owl tethered to a perch for more than 10 years never flying it or allowing it to be free at any time. only 3% of what we do at falconry days involves public access the other 97% of our business is covered by our animal performing licence, I will argue in court that all of what we do is covered by our animal performing licence. I could quote more of the act but this is not the time or place but be sure I have a full understanding of the act.”

    I agree with Paradoxurus regarding the £2000 fee and the 4 year renewal. It comes across as Mr French is a very argumentative, ego thumping person who has this odd Interpretation that he has on why he believes he is exempt. His logic and overall demeanor by deleting comments on his (Falconry Days) FB page which argue against him seems to show that he is not interested in other people's views, which is a sad issue. He seems to fit into the same billing as Messrs Gill and Ames to name but a couple.
     
  13. bigcat speciali

    bigcat speciali Well-Known Member

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  14. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Just noticed a typo in the title, extra t after the north. :)
     
  15. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one who finds 2000 pounds for 'zoo licence' outrageous? It seems that some bureaucrat made himself a nice source of income.

    I wonder who set such a price, how this cost is justified, and why nobody protests that such fees can directly eat into funds actually spend on well-being of animals?

    There was a similar incident few years ago with a British woman running a sanctuary for former pet tortoises. She was asked to pay over 500 pounds for a 'zoo licence'. She countered that she cannot afford to both pay this money and feed the tortoises. I don't know how this story ended.

    I am not aware of other European countries charging such big sums for inspections of small animal sanctuaries.
     
  16. bigcat speciali

    bigcat speciali Well-Known Member

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    As Paradoxurus has mentioned and correctly so.

    "Firstly, zoo licenses are not issued on an annual basis (and if it does actually say this in the article then it is erroneous). The regularity of the renewal/inspections is based on all sorts of circumstances such as the nature of the collection, the addition of new exhibits, the types of animals kept, any improvement notices issued etc. My guess is that the £2000 would be for an initial application/inspection. Renewals usually take place every four years.

    I don't think the article gives enough detail regarding the breakdown of that £2000 to make the assumption that it is solely the license fee. By far the greatest expense when applying for a zoo license is paying he expenses of the inspectors who are engaged to assess the collection. In actual fact someone who opened a zoo in Northumberland the size of Whipsnade with elephants, tigers, rhinos etc would have to stump up considerably more than a small establishment with only about fifty birds in its collection as the inspection process would be a far more demanding task."
     
  17. bigcat speciali

    bigcat speciali Well-Known Member

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    So Mr French, you still don't get it do you? You still require a Zoo Licence, especially now after advertising your Christmas bookings...time to sack your Barrister as he i not worth the money and has given you poor service and ill-advised at that.

    "Our winter wonderland tickets are on sale now, hurry as places are limited; http://www.falconrydays.com/winterwonderland.php
    "Wrap up warm and enjoy some festive magic as our owls fly off to Lapland with your letters for santa claus.
    Owl masks making
    Hot chocolate & marshmallows
    Mulled wine
    Warming log fires
    Winter warming broth
    Burgers to cook over the log fire
    Meet over 80 birds of prey and have one fly and land on your hand
    November 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th & 30th
    December 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th & 21st"

    Falconry Days Magical Winter Wonderland

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Falconry-Days/111303205626197
     
  18. bigcat speciali

    bigcat speciali Well-Known Member

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    "The battle with Northumberland county council does not effect our falconry experience days or any other part of our business, it only applies to people who pay an entry fee, we fully inted to take the fight all the way to the high court if thats what it takes."
     
  19. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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