February 14, 2022 4.33 pm

“No animal welfare issues were found” during Whisby Garden Centre inspection

Some visitors and former employees remain concerned

Lincolnshire Trading Standards said “no animal welfare issues were found” during a recent inspection at Whisby Garden Centre, amid growing concerns from some visitors and former employees.

Bryony Finch worked at Whisby Garden Centre for less than a month in June last year before claiming she was dismissed for not having enough experience. She voiced concerns about the welfare of animals at the park on social media, and responses mounted of experiences and alleged neglect.

It’s not the first time local people have questioned the health of animals at the park, but owners continue to argue the animals in their care have a “clean bill of health” and claimed “we are not under investigation by anybody”.

The day after our story was published, the centre said it received an unannounced visit from Trading Standards and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency).

Lincolnshire Trading Standards said it attended Whisby Garden Centre with APHA and a vet on Friday, February 11, at Apha’s request, and no animal welfare issues were found. APHA said it doesn’t comment on the progression of individual cases.

In a social media post the centre said: “All of our animals and birds were checked and they have no concerns with any welfare issues.”

Bryony felt that other animals at the centre were also in a poor condition.

Bryony with Xena the lamb.

Former employee Bryony is also in the process of launching a petition to get animal welfare law amended.

She previously told The Lincolnite: “I would like to say that I feel let down by the large animal welfare organisations. I spent so much time getting Xena (the lamb) into good health and the other animals.

“I spent a lot of time reporting Whisby and speaking to APHA in the hopes something would change and it hasn’t. I am going to be petitioning for a new law shortly that would stop something like this happening again.”

A recent visitor to the centre Tammy Faulkner said she saw a number of goats in desperate need of medical attention and foot care last month, and when she returned again a week later she claimed there had been no improvement.

She said she owns her own goats so understands their behaviour and how they need looked after. She said she spoke to staff at the centre to air her concerns and told them she would return a week later before reporting the matter to the RSPCA.

In a further social media post on Sunday, February 13 the centre said: “We are happy to report the goats at Whisby Garden Centre are much improved.”

Mark Keal, Lincolnshire Trading Standards manager, previously said: “We take reports of animal health concerns very seriously, and if anyone is worried about the welfare of farmed animals, they can report this to us through the Citizens Advice consumer service. Visit citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer or call 0808 2231133.

“When we receive complaints – depending on the nature and severity of the report – we can inspect the premises, arrange vet visits, provide advice, work with the business to improve practices, or even remove animals in extreme circumstances. Your reports help us to keep animals safe in Lincolnshire.”