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The Zoos Forum, the Government’s advisors on zoo matters, has put
together this Handbook for all with interests in zoo and zoo animal
management to use.

Its purpose is to supplement the guidance contained in the Secretary
of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice, updated in September
2004. It is a living document and will be reviewed, updated and added
to on a regular basis to reflect new developments in animal
management and best zoo practice etc.

However, it should be noted that the Handbook is not meant to be an
exhaustive source of information. It is non-statutory and simply
contains guidance with recommendations and examples that all zoo
stakeholders – inspectors, local authority representatives, zoos and
others - should find helpful.

The Forum, established in 1999 following a review of the Zoo Licensing
Act 1981 and comprising members from various zoo interests and
stakeholders, identified the conservation, education and research role
of zoos as one area that needed guidance – particularly as this became
a statutory requirement of zoos by virtue of amendments to the Zoo
Licensing Act which came into force in 2003.

The Handbook currently contains the following chapters:

The ethical review process - Following the update of the Secretary
of State’s Standards, this is assessed at zoo inspections. The chapter
gives ideas on how a zoo might undertake such reviews, when, and
who might be involved.

Conservation, education and research - Drawn up to help all zoos
develop their conservation, educational and research roles and
contains examples that all zoos, from the large municipal general
collections to small specialist collections and farm parks that hold non-
domestic animals should find helpful in complying with the new

Sustainability initiatives in UK Zoos - Explains the concept of
sustainable development and its applicability to zoos and summarises
structures and procedures that can encourage sustainable
development, including examples of specific positive measures and
good practice from UK zoos.
Animal welfare and its assessment in zoos - Aims to assist zoos
and zoo inspectors evaluate the welfare of zoo animals and, in so
doing, to help promote high standards of animal husbandry in line with
the requirements of the EC Zoos Directive (1999/22/EC).

Diving in Zoos and Aquariums – Aims to provide zoo inspectors and
local authorities with the necessary guidance for good practice relating
to diving in aquariums to help both the zoo licensing and inspection
process. It also outlines the procedures involved with diving in
aquariums that are covered by the Health & Safety Executive.

Veterinary services – Aims to indicate to zoo managers, Local
Authorities and zoo inspectors where the minimum standards of
veterinary service may lie, and the various options for achieving a far
better than minimum level of veterinary care in a licensed zoo.

Further chapters will be added to the Handbook in due course.

Dr James Kirkwood
Zoos Forum Chair

                                                       November 2007

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