Dublin Zoo has said it "vehemently disputes" allegations raised in the Seanad about the mistreatment of animals.

In a statement, the Zoo said it is widely recognised as having a world-renowned standard of animal care, describing the allegations as upsetting.

Labour's Annie Hoey yesterday told the Seanad that she has been speaking with current and former staff members of the zoo who have told her of welfare breaches.

She also said the most detailed accounts have come from a whisteblower via a protected disclosure, outlining serious welfare issues, near misses and safety and management concerns.

However, Dublin Zoo said the claims have unfairly undermined "the incredible hard work and dedication of Dublin Zoo's highly committed team of employees and volunteers who live and breathe Dublin Zoo’s purpose, mandate and animal welfare, on a daily basis".

The senator yesterday read from the protected disclosure, detailing the case of a female zebra who died from complications after a tooth extraction in December 2020.

"The tooth was extracted, and the animal was severely paralysed when she came around from the anaesthetic. Staff were extremely distraught after witnessing the zebra's treatment," she read.

"They felt they couldn't raise concerns for fear of reprisals," she added.

The senator also outlined the case of a giraffe, Maeve, who died last month.

"Maeve was not being observed consistently or being assessed to determine her quality of life.

"After her death and postmortem, staff were called to a meeting and offered counselling, then told to delete any videos of Meave and how she died. Before Meave's death, I saw photos of her gaunt frame and her bones sticking out and she was clearly an extremely unwell animal."

Ms Hoey also told the Seanad of a "major breach of guidelines happening in the form of missing animals".

She said in November 2019 two crested macaws went missing and presumed dead, earlier this year she said a cockatoo escaped, and a white-collared mangabey went missing.

"The zoo has failed to follow any protocols to either retrieve the animals or inform or warn the public to wither retrieve the animals or prevent anyone sustaining an injury from one of the missing animals," she said.

Dublin Zoo responded saying they were not contacted to fact check.

It said it would encourage the Senator to view the two most recent inspection reports from the Department of Housing, Local Heritage and Government which it said found it to be "a modern facility which, in our opinion, is well run and has the welfare of the animals it cares for at the heart of each decision''.

It also invited the senator to Dublin Zoo to discuss the allegations.

In an updated statement, Dublin Zoo said it would welcome an investigation into allegations of animal mistreatment and said it will be appointing an "independent animal welfare consultant" to review standards of animal care and welfare.

It also said any information garnered from recent public disclosures should be referred to the Zoos Inspectors which is based at the National Parks and Wildlife Service.