Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife Sanctuaries: Reopening

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 4:07 pm, 11th June 2020

My hon. Friend Andrew Rosindell gets a result before he has even opened his mouth. That is certainly an example to other parliamentarians of how to do things, and I pay tribute to him for his great work in this field.

Just like my hon. Friend, I am an animal lover. In fact, we have been all over the world, and hon. Members can be reassured that whenever I travel with him there is always a visit to a zoo. We have been to Shanghai zoo to see the pandas and to Madagascar to see the lemurs, and all over the world we have seen these marvellous animals. Before I forget, my hon. Friend mentioned Edinburgh zoo and the pandas there—I have been there—and I think we should get our money back. These two pandas were leased from China on the basis that there would be the pitter-patter of tiny feet, and for a long while now the Scottish people have waited for something to happen but it is not happening. However, as my hon. Friend said, it is good that China is at least prepared to lease these animals.

My long-suffering mother had a small child who was animal mad. Every time I wanted to be taken out I wanted to go to a zoo, so we went to a zoo. I wanted to ride on an animal, and there I would be in the queue with the ice-cream—a 99—melting as we eventually got to the animal at the front. In those days, of course, we could ride on practically anything, although I do not think I ever rode on a lion or a tiger. However, I did see Guy the Gorilla.

My hon. Friend Andrew Selous spoke about Whipsnade, which is an absolutely fantastic place, and I love the giraffes there. Zoos are very controversial, but I will not have a word said against them.