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Elephants ‘should not be brought into the UK’

No more elephants should be imported into Britain and the animals should be phased out of British zoos, the RSPCA has said.

Recent research shows that the animals were suffering from |severe welfare problems ranging from lameness and obesity to |obsessive behaviour, and that it was inappropriate and cruel to keep them in confinement, it said.

The RSPCA was reacting to a report from the Government’s own advisory committee, the Zoos Forum, which endorsed the research findings on welfare problems, but stopped short of calling for an elephant ban.

Britain has 70 elephants in captivity, made up of 37 Asian elephants and 33 of the larger African species in 13 zoos.

Two years ago, Bristol University researchers made a detailed study of elephant welfare, housing and husbandry.

The study said that although zoos were trying to “enrich and improve” the elephants’ lives, there were serious problems.

“We are extremely disappointed that the report did not recommend an outright ban on importing elephants to UK zoos,” said the RSPCA’s Dr Ros Clubb.

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