After eight months of scrutiny by Biosecurity Queensland, the wildlife hospital at Australia Zoo has been cleared of allegations of mistreating animals and failing to adhere to proper veterinary practices. A Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesperson told The Sunshine Coast Daily that there is no evidence to show any deliberate harm was inflicted on animals. Investigators had taken interest in the hospital after a mass staff exodus, which included four vets and 12 nurses, led to the accusations.
“On the basis of the information provided, it is not possible to conclude that any criminal offences occurred,” the spokesperson said.
“The complaints related to alleged incidents dating back to early 2015 and centred on claims of inadequate levels of experience among some staff, leading to inappropriate handling and poor outcomes for some animals under treatment.
The investigation has been a rigorous process covering both the staff and facilities at Australia Zoo.
“Over the past eight months, Biosecurity Queensland’s Specialist Investigative Unit and a multi-disciplinary assessment team have looked very closely at the level of care and living conditions at the hospital.
“This included inspecting its facilities, interviewing numerous current and former staff and animal carers, and also examining a significant number of documents, including treatment records.
“An independent veterinary expert accompanied investigators during the site visit.
“Investigators assessed induction processes, triage practices, veterinary assessments, surgery, the intensive care unit, pharmacy protocols, cleaning procedures, biosecurity, record keeping, the nursery, and internal and external enclosures.”
The spokesperson confirmed a further investigation into how medication was dispensed and the level of care offered was taken on by the Veterinary Surgeon’s Board.
“An independent assessment by the Veterinary Surgeon’s Board focused on whether there had been any breaches under the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Queensland Health was involved from the perspective of the administration of medicines,” he said.
“To date the investigating team has reviewed over 300 avenues of enquiry, managed and catalogued a significant bulk of information and assessed the veracity of 31 separate allegations.
“Throughout the investigation Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was fully cooperative.
“Investigators did not identify any animal welfare offences and the standard of care being provided at the hospital was deemed to be excellent.
“There were no systemic failures in protocols, procedures or staff training identified.
“With regard to individual cases, each was investigated and on the determined facts there was insufficient information to substantiate any offence had been committed.”