Thursday, 17 September 2015

Government to step in to help import tiger after PMQs plea to Cameron

Officials will work to transfer ex-circus tiger from Belgium to Isle of Wight zoo after topic came up during Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs as Labour leader

Wednesday 16 September 2015 18.52 BSTLast modified on Thursday 17 September 201501.10 BST

Government officials have said they will work to help the Isle of Wight zoo import a tiger held in isolation in Belgium after David Cameron promised his support when the topic unexpectedly came up during Jeremy Corbyn’s first appearance at prime minister’s questions as leader of the opposition.

Andrew Turner, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, used the first question after Jeremy Corbyn’s PMQs debut to plead with the prime minister to aid the zoo in breaking through a “bureaucratic logjam” to import the tiger.

Simi had been a circus tiger in Germany but was taken on welfare grounds to a Belgian rescue centre two years ago, to be held at isolation. Turner told Cameron: “She was firstly cruelly treated in a circus and now has been kept in isolation for nearly two years despite Belgium being wholly free from rabies.”

Cameron said: “I do want to hear about the tiger. We will help with the Defra Animal and Plant Health Agency.”

A spokeswoman for the agency said: “Quarantine waivers are strictly controlled and only issued if certain criteria can be met by the premises of origin and destination. APHA will work with the Isle of Wight zoo to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.” She said certain criteria had not been met so far.

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