NEWS

Born Free Foundation's Animals In European Zoos Exhibition Show 'Urgent Need' To Improve Lives

There is an 'urgent need' to improve conditions.

21/10/2016 15:30

Haunting pictures of animals trapped behind bars in Europe’s zoos have been captured by international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation. The powerful exhibition was launched by the organisation to highlight, what they see as, the poor standards of animal care at many zoos in the European Union.

Keith Taylor, MEP and the Green Party’s animals spokesperson, said the images show the “urgent need” to improve conditions and regulatory enforcement, both in the UK and in the rest of the EU.

Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
Elephant in a Slovenian zoo.

Taylor said: “The EU has been a positive force for so many animal welfare improvements in Britain and across Europe.

“It was the EU that first recognised animals as sentient beings and, consequently, introduced a blanket ban on cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, ended the use of great apes in research, improved welfare standards for farm animals, strengthened protections for rare and endangered species, cracked down on the illegal ivory trade, banned cat and dog fur imports, and stopped the gruesome trade in seal products. However, more must be done by the European Union to enforce the relevant EU laws and improve the lives of animals kept in zoos.

The photos were taken by award-winning international photographers, Britta Jaschinski and Jo-Anne McArthur who visited several EU countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and the UK, this summer to document the conditions some animals are forced to live in. 

Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
Marmoset in a Danish zoo

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 and mine. And the message they give is simple. Help us. End this.”

Zoos are required under a European Council directive to satisfy animals’ biological requirements by providing species-specific enrichment and a high standard of husbandry. Born Free said it aims to show, through these photos, that “many zoos keep animals in sub-standard conditions and EU zoos are therefore not fulfilling their legal requirements”.

  • Born Free Foundation Britta Jaschinski
    Barbary macaque in a UK zoo
  • Born Free Foundation Britta Jaschinski
    Chimpanzees in an Italian zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Polar bear in a Latvian zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Dolphin in a Lithuanian zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Elephant in a German zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Bear in a Croatian EU zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Lion in a German zoo
  • Born Free Foundation Britta Jaschinski
    Owl in a Maltese zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Meerkat in an Estonian zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Bear in a German zoo
  • Born Free Foundation JoAnne McArthur
    Tiger in a French zoo
  • Born Free Foundation Britta Jaschinski
    Giraffe in a UK zoo Part of Born Free Foundations Animals in European Zoos A Photo Exhibition

These pictures come at as a debate about zoos continues to divide opinion. Last week a Silverback male gorilla escaped from his enclosure from London Zoo. Fortunately, the animal was recaptured without any injuries, but this is not always the case.

Earlier this year Cincinnati Zoo was the focus of public outrage after Harambe, a critically endangered gorilla was shot dead after a child was able to enter his enclosure. 

Daniel Turner, associate director for European Compliance at Born Free, said he hopes the collection will help to influence a “greater commitment to improving standards in animal welfare in Europe’s zoos”.

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