Animal rights activists claim Bristol Zoo vandalism
AN anarchist group has claimed responsibility for the damage caused to the Bristol Zoo Gardens on New Year's Day.
In a note posted online, the anonymous group admitted targeting the front entrance, smashing windows and daubing "liberate" in graffiti on an adjacent wall.
In their comment, the activists accused the zoo of cruelty and exploitation and committed to further action in 2013.
Bristol Zoo Gardens, which has remained open since the attack, defended its conservation work.
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The police say they are still investigating the vandalism.
As reported in The Post on Wednesday, staff at the zoo were left "saddened" following the attack on the attraction.
An appeal was put out by police looking to identify what they believed to be group of offenders.
But a note from the activists, entitled "Call of the wild or CONTROL of the wild", was posted on the Bristol Indymedia website on the day of the attack. In the letter, the group said: "We started 2013 as we mean to carry on, with an attack on the front entrance building of Bristol Zoo.
"All the glass front doors and windows were smashed. The building and 'Bristol Zoo' lettering was attacked with paint bombs as well as a paint bomb inside the building. 'Liberate' was sprayed across the front."
The group went on to criticise the "hypocritical mind set" of zoos which "put themselves forward as champions of conservation".
They said: " The ones that are lucky enough to be 'saved' are put in cages and this is presented as somehow protecting and helping them."
They added: "Behind all the rhetoric and reinvention of zoos lies the cruel reality as always of money and profit by all means necessary."
They said the "institutions of slavery" have no defence against their "reasons to attack [the zoo]".
"With this small but successful act we draw a line in the sand between us and the dominator of every creature including ourselves."
Spokeswoman for Bristol Zoo Gardens Catherine Phillips defended the zoo's work and said that the organisation had no intention of getting in to a "head to head" with the activists.
She said: "We feel very saddened that someone would choose to do this to a historical local landmark, especially one with such strong community links and award winning conservation and educational work.
"We understand that they have motivations for doing this but we stand by our credibility.
"We know who we are and what we do. Our conservation work is a pivotal part of what we do and we feel there is no need to go head to head with whoever did this."
She added that the Zoo Gardens remain open to the public and reassured visitors that the attraction is safe.
Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman Claire Stanley said: "A thorough investigation is under way and we are exploring various lines of enquiry. However, at this stage it is too early to speculate about a possible motive for the graffiti."