A zoo near Antwerp must close its doors immediately

The Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare, Ben Weyts, has withdrawn the recognition of the Olmense Zoo. Too many animal welfare violations were detected in the zoo in Balen, in the province of Antwerp.

The Olmense Zoo houses about 1,000 animals including elephants, zebras, lions and monkeys. 250 animal species in total. But it turns out that things often go wrong regarding the housing. "Animals are often housed in rooms that are poorly ventilated or not well-cleaned", says Minister Weyts. "In addition, some animals have no shelter from the rain during their stay and there are far too many animals for the room available.”

The problems with the Olmense Zoo have actually been going on for a while. "We have therefore proposed various pathways to improve the situation", the Minister said, "but they have never led to a structural solution. That is why the zoo must now immediately close its doors. It must be clear that we take animal welfare seriously."

The management of the Olmense Zoo has badly reacted . "I'm surprised," says Wim Verheyen, "because I thought we had a good relation with the Animal Welfare department". He had meetings with his staff this morning. "We will obviously continue to take care of the animals here, but for the rest, it is still completely unclear to us what we should do now."

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