'Disappointing and extremely concerning' – Tayto Park music festival plans slammed by animal charities

ANIMAL welfare charities have slammed Meath County Council for giving a music festival at Tayto Park the green light.

The ISPCA and Born Free Foundation said animals living in the amusement park’s zoo are likely to suffer considerable stress due to the loud music at the inaugural FunFest family festival on June 29 and 30.

The groups have written to the local authority saying it is irresponsible to allow the musical festival to go ahead, stating that zoos have a duty to protect the animals in their care.

“The ISPCA is very disappointed that Meath County Council has ignored the concerns of captive animal welfare experts and have given the go-ahead for this event,” said the charity’s chief executive Dr Andrew Kelly.

“At the very least we believe that a condition of the licence should include the presence of a specialised zoo veterinary surgeon to monitor the well-being of the animals.”

Dr Chris Draper, head of animal welfare and captivity at Born Free, said the organisation is “extremely concerned” to learn the festival is going ahead.

“Once the festival begins, there will be little that can be done to protect any animals that become stressed,” he said.

“Zoos and local councils must give more thought to the type of events they permit to take place in future, and prioritise animal welfare over profit.”

According to Tayto Park’s website, a host of entertainers from the worlds of music, circus, family entertainment, dance and art will appear.

Top Irish band Hudson Taylor will headline the main stage on the Sunday, with international acts Rak-Su and Heather Small topping the bill on Saturday. One of Ireland’s most popular entertainers, Nathan Carter, will be a special guest on Sunday.

Two big top tents will also host a variety of children’s entertainers, including jugglers, circus performers and dancers.

Tayto Park is home to a variety of exotic animals, such as the Amur tiger and the American ocelot.

The zoo has a growing primate collection which includes squirrel monkeys, red-bellied tamarins, Goeldi’s monkeys and the critically endangered Sulawesi crested macaque.

A spokesperson for Meath County Council told Independent.ie it is not aware of anything in the planning legislation that would require the council to consider animal welfare issues when considering a music event licence application.

“It is respectfully suggested this is a matter that should be taken up with the promoters of the event and the owners of the facility,” the spokesperson said.

Tayto Park did not respond to a request for comment.

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