This investigation is part of an extensive EU-wide project that involves 21 EU countries and a total of 200 zoos.
The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 has been conducted by the Born Free Foundation, in association with the European coalition, ENDCAP. It is an independent study evaluating the implementation and enforcement of the EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos, which was fully implemented in EU Member States (25) in 2005 (and 2007 in Bulgaria and Romania). The Directive requires all zoos (as defined) to be licensed and controlled through regular inspection, to ensure they are engaged in activities to conserve biodiversity, educate the public and maintain high standards in animal welfare. The investigation, which has included a review of national law, law enforcement and compliance in a selected number of zoos in 21 EU Member States, has identified inconsistencies in application and substandard conditions in zoos, which is primarily due to a lack of knowledge and training of enforcement personnel and zoo operators to ensure an understanding of the legal requirements of the Directive.
As a result of this work, the European Commission has agreed to provide additional training to veterinarians in fundamental and applied animal welfare science, as well as to meet Born Free’s main request to develop a ‘best practice’ zoo guide to assist Member States and zoo operators to meet the legal requirements. Born Free continues to produce country reports, as a result of the investigations, which will be available online once published.