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Keith Taylor MEP hails impact of powerful photo exhibition exposing poor conditions in #zoos across Europe




zoo-lleons1Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East, is hailing the impact of a powerful photo exhibition at the European Parliament which ends later today (13 October) highlighting the poor conditions in many zoos in the UK and across Europe.

International wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation, is hoping the thought-provoking photographs will lay bare the lives that millions of animals kept in zoos across Europe are forced to endure.

Award-winning photographers Britta Jaschinski and Jo-Anne McArthur visited several countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and the UK, in the summer of 2016 to document the heartbreaking scenes.

Keith, the Green Party's Animals spokesperson, said of the exhibition: "Animal welfare, across Europe, is an issue about which I'm passionate and I'm very happy to help bring Born Free's timely and important exhibition to the European Parliament.

"The photographs are necessarily stark and upsetting. The pictures reveal the urgent need to improve conditions and regulatory enforcement at home and beyond.

"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."

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 MEPs 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.


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.

Daniel Turner, Associate Director for European Compliance at Born Free, added: 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."

With uncertainty hanging over the future relationship between the UK and the EU and the implications for animal welfare safeguards, Keith was also keen to stress: "Theresa May must not use the EU referendum as an excuse to scrap these vital EU laws. The prime minister must ensure that  the UK maintains as close a relationship with its European neighbors as possible to ensure welfare safeguards are retained, strengthened and, most importantly, enforced."

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