On 13th March 2024, the council of the borough of Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, England, rejected the planning of a new zoo that was masquerading as a sanctuary in Trowell. Broxtowe Borough Council Planning Committee returned a decision that planning permission would not be granted for the so-called “Broxtowe Retreat”. 

The developers planned to acquire animals that had been bred for display (including big cats), build spa facilities and overnight accommodation, and operate as a business (not a charity), which shows that, despite how they characterised themselves, this project was going to be a zoo for profit, not a sanctuary for the wellbeing of animals. Zoos often disguise themselves as sanctuaries to deceive the public. 

Many animal protection organisations have campaigned to stop this project, among them Freedom for Animals, The Born Free Foundation, and Animal Rising. The zoo’s planning application was submitted in November 2022, and soon these groups began working to oppose it. A change.org petition opposing the zoo was created, and it reached 5211 signatures. Petition signatures were handed to the council the very day they voted on the matter.

In a statement, Freedom for Animals said, “We would like to take the opportunity to thank every one of you who has given your time to object to the planning proposal or sign the petition, or given your money to support our actions from the office to the streets of Broxtowe. It is thanks to you that no new cages will be constructed, into which innocent animals would have been forced to spend their entire lives just to be part of a tourist attraction. Zoos represent a lifetime of misery for those forced to inhabit them, and the fewer cages out there, the fewer ruined lives there can be. Today represents another step away from an archaic society that exploits animals for entertainment.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.