Many Parliamentarians are pledging their support for an end to the keeping of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in captivity for entertainment purposes. This follows the launch in March of a new coalition of marine mammal scientists and animal protection NGOs, called ‘Dolphinaria-Free Europe’, hosted by Keith Taylor MEP and Marco Affronte MEP. The coalition of 20 NGOs from 11 EU countries states that captive facilities cannot provide such wide-ranging, intelligent animals with adequate living conditions and advocates a phasing out of Europe’s 33 dolphinaria, through a programme of non-breeding and non-replacement, and the construction of coastal dolphin refuges. To pledge, your support contact us. Supporting MEPs are recognised through social media.
» Find out why cetaceans should not be kept in captivity
‘One stop shop’ for animal welfare
ECR MEP Jacqueline Foster has tabled a Written Declaration seeking Parliamentary support for a “One stop shop for animal welfare” established within the European Commission that will strive to protect all animals, regardless of their use or circumstance. Its goal: to assist Member States to uphold animal protection the law and end suffering by providing an effective centralised, one stop shop for enquiries from the Member States and industry.
Investigations undertaken by ENDCAP, and others, have revealed that many EU Member State Competent Authorities lack the knowledge to uphold animal protection legislation. This has resulted in substandard conditions for animals in zoos, circuses, dolphinaria, etc.; often being the subject of letters of concern from the public.
Centralising resources into a “One stop shop for animal welfare”, will not only ensure Member States have the support many need to effectively apply the law and to improve standards, but the European Commission will have no excuse but to meet its obligations towards effective animal protection.
The Written Declaration (reference number 22/2015) opened for signatures on 27 May 2015 and closes on 27 August 2015. In Strasbourg Written Declarations can be signed personally at office: LOW T02024 (same office as for over-quota written questions). Between sessions at office: PHS 07C 085 or 087.
To support the proposed “One stop shop for animal welfare”, please contact Jacqueline Foster MEP.
EU Action Plan against Illegal Wildlife Trade
The Born Free Foundation launched the report, ‘End Wildlife Trafficking’ at the European Parliament on 15th April. The report was aimed at persuading the European Commission to develop and implement an EU-wide Action Plan to tackle the shocking and illegal trade in wildlife. It focuses on the trade in high value products (such as ivory and rhino horn), bushmeat and live animals, predominantly for the pet trade.
Thanks to the support of MEPs For Wildlife, a new Interest Group established in the European Parliament to raise-awareness about wildlife trafficking and its threat to global biodiversity, the European Commission has confirmed that the proposed Action Plan will be published by the end of 2015. The Born Free Foundation and ENDCAP wishe to thank MEPs: Catherine Bearder, Jacqueline Foster, Stefan Eck, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Javor Benedek, Pavel Poc and all the MEPs For Wildlife for their support of this initiative.
For more information about the MEPs For Wildlife please contact Catherine Bearder MEP.
Malpractice in European zoos
European Citizens continue to be concerned about the practices of, and conditions in many of Europe’s zoos. We know that MEPs are often sent reports of wild animals in poor to appalling living conditions, often likened with conditions observed in developing countries, and asked for help. We also know that achieving change is very difficult, with the implementation and enforcement of zoo law in EU Member States identified as inadequate and compliance of zoos with their legal obligations limited (EU Zoo Inquiry 2011).
Animal protection NGOs across Europe continually investigate and expose malpractice in the hope that exposure and condemnation will influence change. Such examples include Zoo D’Amneville (France), which has established a circus-style show, “Tiger World” involving performing tigers; and ZooMarine Algarve (Portugal), which was to host the production of the TV reality show, “Dolphins with the Stars” that allows celebrities to train individual dolphins to perform choreographed stunts to TV audiences. These examples demonstrate how many (but not all) European zoos are exploiting their animals for entertainment purposes and to generate profits, at the expense of animal welfare, and under the guise of species conservation.
ENDCAP and its members will continue to expose malpractice and highlight the fact that few zoos in Europe meet the requirements of the EC Zoos Directive (1999/22) and subsequent national law. We need the support of MEPs to bring news of the poor conditions in zoos and such exploitative activities to the attention of the European Commission and seek change. For more information please contact Daniel Turner.
Respect captive wild animals
ENDCAP, a coalition of European NGOs works to ensure wild animals in captivity (in zoos, circuses, dolphinaria and those in trade or kept as companion animals), are kept in conditions that meet their physical, psychological and behavioural needs. No doubt, this is also a goal of the majority of Members of the European Parliament, but what are the current issues and how can you make a difference and improve the lives of the millions of wild animals in captivity in the EU?
The ENDCAP website provides the latest concerning zoo regulation, actions to end animal circuses and dolphinaria, and restrict the keeping of wild animals as pets. Visit endcap.eu for the latest news.
Recognising that the animal protection and welfare policy in the European Community currently fails to appropriately address the welfare problems associated with keeping wild animals in captivity, ENDCAP has launched the EU-wide campaign “Respect Captive Wild Animals”, which seeks to secure greater protection of these animals. This includes the need to broaden the scope of European animal welfare policy and associated initiatives to include all animals under human control. For more information, contact Daniel Turner.
The Elephant in the Room
A new short film “The Elephant in the Room”, focuses on the lonely, miserable lives of solitary elephants in zoos and circuses. Based upon the report by ENDCAP member, the Born Free Foundation, “Innocent Prisoner” and including interviews with leading elephant experts; the film provides an insight into the plight of 40 solitary elephants in Europe.
The EC Zoos Directive 1999/22 requires zoos to accommodate their animals under conditions that satisfy their biological needs and provide species-specific environmental enrichment (Article 3). However, if this was to be effectively implemented, are zoos able to sufficiently provide for species-specific needs of all animal species? Does a captive environment, devoid of the complexities of the wild, sufficiently cater of elephants (the largest land mammal, highly social, intelligent, family animals that bond for life), or wide-ranging carnivores, such as dolphins that require a varied and diverse environment? “The Elephant in the Room” considers the innate needs of animal species and raises the question whether their captivity is really necessary. » Watch the film
Help end wild animal circuses
Fifteen EU Member States have now established legislation that prohibits the use of some wild animal species (and in some cases, all wild animal species) in circuses. The most recent country to take this decision was Malta, which has joined Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece and Slovenia in prohibiting all wild animals. In addition, governments in the Netherlands and England, both indicate that prohibitions are likely in the next 12 months, whilst the Scottish Government is considering similar action.
Despite a clear trend across the EU that it is becoming less acceptable for animals of wild species to be trained to perform for public entertainment, countries like Spain, Italy and Germany remain entrenched and are a strong hold for animal circuses. There are believed to be hundreds of circuses with wild animals in Europe, keeping animals like elephants, giraffe, lions, tigers, bears and primates.
MEPs are encouraged to call upon the governments of Spain, Italy and Germany to phase-out the use of wild animals in circuses and end the archaic practice. » Find out more
EU animal action
A total of 82 MEPs signed onto a letter, proposed by Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK), urging Commissioner Vella to recognise Parliamentary support to curb wildlife trafficking and to establish the proposed EU-wide Action Plan. The Commissioner has responded acknowledging the need for action and capacity-building in Member State to improve enforcement.
Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland), acting on behalf of public concern, has written to the French Government to encourage improvement in the enforcement of national zoo regulation. Evidence indicates that many zoos in France are substandard and keep their animals in poor conditions.
Recognising the importance of animal welfare to European Citizens, Jacqueline Foster (ECR, UK) has proposed the establishment of a ‘one stop shop’ to streamline animal welfare concerns under the existing Directorates-General structure. The Resolution urges the European Commission to represent animal welfare for all animal species under the management or care of human beings, acting as a single and central point of information and expertise.