The heart-wrenching photographs of animals in European zoos

Le condizioni degli zoo in Europa sono pessime. Ma ora possiamo chiedere norme migliori e controlli sul benessere degli animali. La denuncia in mostra a Bruxelles.

Animals in European Zoos is a photo feature that lays bare the conditions animals have to endure in 4,000 European zoos, which should have the conservation of biodiversity as their main aim. The powerful photographs were exhibited in the European Parliament in Brussels in October.

The exhibition was organised by the Born Free Foundation, which also arranged a meeting with MEPs to discuss the directive relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos and, particularly, the role of zoos and animal welfare. The photographs were taken in European facilities that seem not able to meet the standards provided by the directive.

Reviewing the European directive on zoos

The European directive on zoos is currently being reviewed in order to assess its effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and relevance with other policies and European laws. All citizens can contribute through an online questionnaire until the 8th of December. This is a procedure being applied to all European laws and represents an occasion for change. The directive will be evaluated on its explicit aim of promoting the conservation of wild species and enhancing the role of zoos in protecting biodiversity. Results will be published later in 2017.

Born Free’s investigation into European zoos

In 2011, the Born Free Foundation published a report following an investigation into dozens of European zoos. Results were appalling and showed how some countries don’t enforce the law, lack controls and skills to properly run facilities.

Animali negli Zoo Europei (Italia) © Britta Jaschinski
Animals in European Zoos (Italy) © Britta Jaschinski

“Despite the advances in knowledge about individual species and their biological needs, many animals are still kept in sub-standard conditions in EU zoos,” said Daniel Turner, Associate Director for European Compliance at Born Free. “Born Free is convinced this is unacceptable and hopes this collection of photographs will help influence a greater commitment to improving standards in animal welfare in Europe’s zoos”.

Though we don’t know what animals are thinking, these tragic photographs show them in unnatural, degrading and humiliating conditions. And we now have the chance to ask for regulations to be implemented. We can do it now.

Featured image: Britta Jaschinski/Born Free Foundation

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