10 October 2016
International wildlife charity, Born Free Foundation, is launching a powerful and thought-provoking photo exhibition at the European Parliament this week, to highlight the poor standards in animal care at many zoos in the European Union.
The exhibition lays bare the lives some of the millions of animals kept in European zoos are forced to endure. Award-winning international photographers, Britta Jaschinski and Jo-Anne McArthur, visited several EU countries – including Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and the UK - in summer 2016 to document the conditions some animals are forced to live in. The scenes they captured are heart-breaking.
Virginia McKenna OBE, Co-Founder and Trustee of Born Free, said: “I should be used to looking at captive wild animals, having done so for over 45 years, but these tragic pictures left me speechless. Please look into the eyes of the macaque, the bear – well, look at all the animals. They tell their own story more poignantly than any words of mine. And the message they give is simple. Help us. End this.”
Council Directive 1999/22/EC requires EU zoos to satisfy animals’ biological requirements by providing species-specific enrichment and a high standard of husbandry. Through this powerful photo exhibition, Born Free aims to show Members of the European Parliament that investigations as part of its EU Zoo Inquiry have revealed many zoos keep animals in sub-standard conditions and EU zoos are therefore not fulfilling their legal requirements.
In 2011, Born Free reported the findings of its ground-breaking EU Zoo Inquiry – the most extensive investigation of the implementation and enforcement of the EU Zoos Directive ever undertaken. Five years on, Born Free has investigated the status of zoo regulation in countries across the EU, at a time when the European Commission is reviewing the effectiveness of the EU Zoos Directive. Investigation findings will be published later this year and in 2017.
Daniel Turner, Associate Director for European Compliance at Born Free, said: “Despite the advances in knowledge about individual species and their biological needs, many animals are still kept in sub-standard conditions in EU zoos. 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.”
Animals in European Zoos: A Photo Exhibition will run from 11th to 13th October at the European Parliament (ASP 5G)