An opposition lawmaker is pushing to introduce a bill to tighten control of the establishment and management of zoos and aquariums as part of efforts to improve animal welfare.
“Animal management, feeding environment and visitors’ safety have been a blind spot since there has been no law that offers any standard,” Democratic Party Rep. Jang Ha-na said Sunday.
Civic groups have been voicing the need to introduce a legal framework that ensures a minimum standard for feeding conditions and restricts excessive drills by trainers.
If the bill is passed, approval from the Minister of Environment will be required to build new zoos and aquariums.
The size of feeding areas and number of zoo keepers and veterinarians would also be screened by ministry officials.
Training methods that go against animal behaviors would be prohibited, which includes using stun guns, whips and shackles.
The ministry would also obligate the facilities to submit biannual reports specifying the number of animals, including those that have died or are sick.
In the event that a sick animal is not properly treated, the ministry would provide treatment and charge the related expenses to the zoo director later.
When closing a facility, documentation would be required to prove that animals were sent to official shelters or transferred to other facilities.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (email@example.com