The regulatory environment in which we operate

The display, and keeping for display, of all vertebrate animals is controlled by the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 (EAPA). In order to operate Sydney Zoo will be required to hold an authority issued by the Director-General of the Animal Welfare Branch of the Department of Primary Industries.

The EAPA is unique to New South Wales in that it pertains to the exhibition of all vertebrate animals, irrespective of whether they are native, exotic or domestic. The EAPA was developed to ensure the positive welfare of animals kept for exhibit purposes and covers a range of areas including:

  1. psychological and physical animal welfare;
  2. educational value of exhibits;
  3. public safety;
  4. legal effect of licencing requirements on animal exhibitors.

The Act currently falls within the portfolio of the Minister for Primary Industries and the Department of Primary Industries is the licensing authority. Staff of the Animal Welfare Branch implement the legislation.

In order to obtain approval to build, Sydney Zoo will need to complete a Form A – Application for Approval to Construct an Animal Display Establishment. Sydney Zoo must additionally hold a separate permit prior to exhibiting any species listed in Schedule 2 of the EAPA Regulation. Schedule 2 species require particular standards because of the special nature of these animals, meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • They require specialist care;
  • They pose a threat to keeper or public safety;
  • The present a danger to agriculture or the environment;
  • They are subject to studbook or cooperative conservation programs conducted under the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP).

There are a series of specific standards and policies that Sydney Zoo will be required to comply with, including:

  1. General Standards for Exhibiting Animals in NSW.
  2. Policy on Exhibiting Primates in NSW.
  3. Standards for Exhibiting Australian Mammals in NSW.
  4. Standards for Exhibiting Captive Raptors in NSW.
  5. Standards for Exhibiting Carnivores in NSW.

The General Standards for Exhibiting Animals in NSW applies to all exhibited animals and includes requirements such as:

  • Staff experience
  • Educational value
  • Visitor facilities
  • Animal enclosures
  • Public safety
  • Husbandry and management
  • Nutrition and hygiene
  • Capture, handling and transport
  • Health
  • Behaviour
  • Breeding control

Exhibitors must meet these standards as well as any other relevant standards for the exhibition of specific taxonomic groups. Where there are no existing standards for a specific species, the General Standards for Exhibiting Animals in NSW apply. Failure to comply with any of these standards is a breach of the licensing condition.

In order to receive a licence Sydney Zoo must demonstrate appropriate animal management experience and provide plans that indicate facilities for the animals will be constructed according to the standards.

The Leader Exhibited Animals and staff of the Animal Welfare Branch liaise with the applicant. If required, the applications are submitted to the Exhibited Animals Advisory Committee for consideration. The Director-General has delegated power to the Director of the Animal Welfare Branch and the Leader Exhibited Animals to issue licences.

Approval to construct an animal display establishment cannot be issued unless the Director-General of The Department of Primary Industries or his/her delegate is satisfied that the animal display establishment will conform to and be conducted in accordance with the prescribed standards.

In order to receive a Licence, on construction completion, Sydney Zoo must contact the Leader Exhibited Animals to arrange for an inspection. Inspections are carried out by an inspector authorised by the Minister, usually a senior member of the Animal Welfare Branch.

Satisfaction that the applicable standards will be complied with will include an assessment of:

  1. The exhibit space and shelter provided for the animals, including safety, exhibit furniture and environmental complexity;
  2. Hygiene (including handwashing) and first aid facilities for members of the public (including zoo visitors);
  3. Animal diet;
  4. Animal identification techniques;
  5. Details of veterinary arrangements for each animal;
  6. Details food storage and preparation areas, as well as post mortem facilities;
  7. Details of educational material that will be provided to the public, concerning the biology and conservation of the species, for each enclosure / exhibit;
  8. Details of appropriately qualified staff and their responsibilities.

Following a satisfactory inspection, Sydney Zoo will be required to pay the relevant issue fee. On receipt of the issue fee the licence will then be issued.

Sydney Zoo will only be permitted to acquire animals for exhibition after a licence has been issued.

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