Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Supporting Comments

FRANCE

The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011

An evaluation of the implementation and enforcement of EC Directive 1999/22

Following the meeting with the Competent Authorities in France, post Report production, this statement offers a clarification of how the zoo selection was made.   

As explained in many of the reports within The EU Zoo Inquiry project, due to an apparent localised misinterpretation of definitions and in some cases a lack of knowledge available within regional authorities, establishments that display wild animals to the public for seven days or more are not always identified as ‘zoos’ and are therefore, not licensed and regulated. In some cases there is due reason. Established criteria in the Member State can exempt certain establishments from regulation, but there are many cases where establishments have fallen through the legislative net. This potentially undermines the requirements of the EC Directive 1999/22. France is no exception. Despite a list of 300 zoos officially recognised by the French Government, the existence of numerous other lists of zoos in France, some listing over 900 zoos, caused doubt as to whether the official list was all inclusive. This was therefore taken into account when making the zoo selection for the study.

Due to the large numbers of zoos in France and the need to take into account the limited resources available for the study, a random selection of four regions was made from the total number of regions in France. From the selected regions, a total of 25 zoos were randomly selected. These zoos were visited and assessed against the requirements of French zoo law as part of this study.

It would appear from the findings that there is an inconsistency in the identification, licensing and inspection of zoos in France. Conditions for animals, for example, were often substandard. The Born Free Foundation and EBDCAP welcome the news that the Competent Authority plans to inspect the zoos selected in this study, but questions their decision to use the regional enforcement agencies, instead of an experienced and independent consultant. As with other Member States, the ability of enforcement agencies to effectively enforce the zoo legislation has been questioned.    

 For more information about The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, please contact Daniel Turner, Project Manager at daniel@bornfree.org.uk

ESTONIA

The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011
An evaluation of the implementation and enforcement of EC Directive 1999/22


Following the meeting with the Competent Authorities in Estonia, post Report production, it has become necessary to clarify which enforcement agencies are involved in the zoo inspections. Roles have recently changed.

It would appear that zoos are initially inspected by the Environment Board, with advice from the Advisory Commission, before they are licensed and able to operate. Once licensed, zoos are then required to be regularly inspected (Estonian law 237/2003 & Article 4 of the Directive) to ensure they meet the requirements applicable to zoos (Estonia law 245/2004 & Article 3 of the Directive). Zoo inspections are undertaken by the Veterinary and Food Board and in some cases by the Environmental Inspectorate (for CITES-listed species), however, following discussions with the Estonian Competent Authorities on 3rd May 2011, it appears that neither of the inspection agencies are competent in the assessment of wild animals in captivity and the provision of appropriate animal care and only a few inspections of zoos have taken place. Concerns over the frequency and quality of zoo inspection, expressed in the Estonia Report, therefore still apply.   

Taking into account the above clarifications, the following alterations to the Estonian report must be taken into account:

1) Page 6, second section – where reference is given to the Environmental Inspectorate, this should instead refer to the Veterinary and Food Board;

2) Page 6, second section, points 3 & 4 – where reference is given to Article 32, this should instead refer to Article 31. The inspection authorities cannot close the zoo, but they can suspend the licence. This is a shortfall of the existing law, and should be resolved by the amendment of APA;

3) Page 12, paragraph 5 - where reference is given to the Environmental Inspectorate, this should instead refer to the Veterinary and Food Board, which cooperates with the Environmental Inspectorate and the police;

4) Page 30, paragraph 3 - where reference is given to the Environmental Inspectorate, this should instead refer to the Veterinary and Food Board, which cooperates with the Environmental Inspectorate and the police;

5) Page 30, paragraph 4 – where reference is given to Article 66-11 of APA is not appropriate, instead, there should be a general reference to APA.

6) Page 35 paragraph 2 - where reference is given to the Environmental Inspectorate, this should instead refer to the Veterinary and Food Board, which cooperates with the Environmental Inspectorate and the police;

The Environmental Inspectorate is an agency, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment and the Veterinary and Food Board is of the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture.

For more information about The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, please contact Daniel Turner, Project Manager at daniel@bornfree.org.uk

SLOVENIA

The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011

An evaluation of the implementation and enforcement of EC Directive 1999/22

Following the meeting with the Competent Authorities in Slovenia, pre Report publication, it has become necessary to clarify the following: 

Any reference made to the ‘Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia’ in the report should read ‘the Slovenian Environmental Agency’. Furthermore, it must be noted that ‘facilities similar to a zoo’ (Article 2(3), D37/2003) are currently not expected to comply with the requirements of Directive, only the requirements of Slovenian zoo law, which exempts such facilities from undertaking ‘scientific activities’. It must be acknowledged that there is some evidence of zoo inspections having taken place at some of the assessed zoos.  For example, penalties have previously been applied to the chimpanzee and wolf exhibits in Ljubljana Zoo, for failures with respect to the minimum standards (Order ‘on living conditions and care of wild animals in captivity’ applies (Official Gazette No.90/2001, 15/11/2001)). Lastly, page 27, the unpigmented olm is the Proteus anguinus anguinus.

Discussions with the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning have positively identified the need to make improvements to Slovenian law as well as the need for guidance on the EU level. The Ministry, and relevant departments, will seek to promote species conservation, a greater consideration for the health and safety of zoo visitors, establishment of a ‘hazardous’ animal categorisation system, clarification of definitions used and improved minimum standards for the keeping of wild animals in captivity, particularly environmental enrichment.

For more information about The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, please contact Daniel Turner, Project Manager at daniel@bornfree.org.uk

POLAND

The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011

An evaluation of the implementation and enforcement of EC Directive 1999/22

Following the meeting with the Competent Authorities in Poland, pre Report publication, it has become necessary to clarify the following:

As of 10th November 2011, there are 23 licensed zoos in Poland. Those zoos that are currently not licensed, due to the fact that they exhibit smaller numbers and/or species of wild animals (Article 5(11), NPA) are licensed through local licensing, but not regulated under RZ12/2004. These unlicensed establishments are currently not recognised as zoos by the Competent Authorities, nor by the term used in the Report, ‘mini-zoo’.

On a specific note, concerning the photograph of the white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus africana) at Warszawa Zoo, these birds are apparently rescued animals and are unable to fly due to wing damage. This is the reason why they are not housed in an appropriate enclosure. Clarity of their predicament, perhaps by signage on the enclosure, would help address any public concern for these animals.

Discussions with the General Directorate of Environmental Protection and the Association of Zoo Directors have positively identified the need to make improvements to the Polish zoo law. This particularly concerns the need to categorise zoos dependent upon their capacity and the species kept. It is important to ensure that all establishments exhibiting wild animals to the public are licensed, inspected and participate in realistically achievable practices in conservation and education. It was acknowledged that further improvements are required concerning public education, zoo inspection, public health and safety and animal care, particularly concerning environmental enrichment. 

For more information about The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, please contact Daniel Turner, Project Manager at daniel@bornfree.org.uk

BELGIUM

The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011

An evaluation of the implementation and enforcement of EC Directive 1999/22

Following the meeting with the Competent Authorities in Belgium, pre Report publication, it has become necessary to clarify the following: 

1. As explained in the Report,  “The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011” project was established to evaluate the implementation and enforcement of the EC Directive 1999/22 (relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos), its transposition into national law, national enforcement of that law and the status and performance of zoos.

Evaluation was undertaken using the Standard Assessment Protocol (www.euzooinquiry.eu), which was adapted for each country investigation to ensure accurate assessment that took into account the legal requirements of national law, as well as European law. Equally, animal welfare was assessed against the requirements of Belgian law, Royal Decree 14/08/1986, Royal Decree 10/08/1998 and the species-specific minimum standards for the keeping of mammals, birds and reptiles in zoos. The Animal Protection Ordinance of Switzerland, Tierschutzverordnung 2008 (APOS) was only used as a best practice ‘control’ in all the country investigations and was not part of the overall assessment of zoo performance.

Taking into consideration the identified and explained constraints of the project (www.euzooinquiry.eu), as well as the information available, the authors believe the report to be an accurate assessment of the situation.

2. It is acknowledged that definitions for “circus”, “travelling exposition” and “pet shop”, as referred to in Royal Decree 10/08/1998 are contained in other subsequent legislation, namely Royal Decree 02/09/2005, and in relation to the “pet shop” in Article 3(5) of Royal Decree 14/08/1986. However, no clarity is given to these facilities, which are exempt from zoo regulation, in the Royal Decree 10/08/1998.

3. The authors acknowledge that since the assessment of the selected zoos, improvements have been made to the previously poor conditions identified at Serpentarium as a result of intervention by the competent authorities. This news is welcomed. 

4. Whilst the authors acknowledge that Zoo Antwerpen may well be undertaking more conservation projects than those reported in the Report, it must be recognised that the zoo chose not to respond to the opportunity to report on its activities (through the Standard Zoo Questionnaire). The investigation was therefore only able to review information openly available in scientific journals, EAZA membership literature and online. In order to ensure the public is appropriately informed about the role of zoos in conservation, scientific research, etc., zoos should seek to ensure such information and detail is readily available. 

5. Recommendations provided by the authors in The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 reports are not necessarily in response to any identified inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the application of the national law. In fact their aim is to provide recommendations for the improvement of zoo regulation in EU Member States, based upon the overall findings of The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 project across 21 EU Member States.

6. The authors welcome the news that two panels of experts are currently reviewing the Belgian zoo legislation. This apparently includes the revision of the minimum standards for the keeping of mammals in zoos, with a focus on environmental enrichment and furthermore, the revision of the minimum standards for the keeping of dolphins in zoos. It is hoped that the Competent Authorities will consider the concerns raised within The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 report.

Discussions with the Department for Animal Welfare and CITES (DAWC) and the Department for Inspection of Animal Welfare and CITES (DIAWC) have raised concerns over the implementation and enforcement of Royal Decree 10/08/1998 and the related legislation, on the news that these competencies will be the responsibility of regional governments. The current political landscape in Belgium means that its future application remains uncertain.

For more information about The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, please contact Daniel Turner, Project Manager at daniel@bornfree.org.uk

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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