Just got an email back from the Born Free Foundation. For those new to the blog, when I was on holiday with the family in Mallorca we stumbled across a dreadful place - part safari park/part zoo and part circus and I had felt moved to report it to someone. (Click here to read the original post.)
Apparently Safari Zoo is one of the 'Top 10 most complained about animal attractions' in the world! Pity they don't put that on their marketing literature!
Born Free suggested, "if you have the time, we think it would be very beneficial for you to write a polite letter of concern to the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James, making clear the feelings you experienced. I have included the relevant address for you below. If you booked your holiday through a tour operator, you can also write a letter to them stating your distress and concern.
His Excellency Senor Don Carlos Miranda, Count of Casa Miranda
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
39, Chesham Place
The Born Free Foundation would be very grateful to obtain copies of any replies you may receive following your letter."
The email goes on to tell of some action in the pipeline:
"It’s clear from the amount of reports we receive about animals in Spain that it is a huge cause for concern. Joining forces with colleagues at Spanish animal welfare organisations, to form InfoZoos (Born Free, ANDA & Depana), we have investigated conditions in zoos throughout different regions on the mainland and compared these to the requirements of the EU Directive on zoos. This law was introduced a few years ago to ensure higher standards in welfare and conservation. Spain should have complied with these standards by October 2004. Our research, however, has revealed this is far from the case – the law has not been implemented, and conditions in many zoos fall below the minimum requirements. These zoos should be shut down and the animals re-homed.
"This evidence was sent to the European Commission, together with information collected from the Regional Governments confirming the true number of zoos in Spain is actually not known, in the hope that Spain would be taken to European Court of Justice for non-compliance. In March 2007, we received the fantastic news that the European Commission has filed an infraction procedure against Spain for not complying with the requirements of the European Zoos Directive.
"Spain only has a short time to respond to the legal challenge and provide detail as to how the Spanish Government will ensure that all zoos in the country will meet the standards by a deadline that expires in just two and a half years. If they fail to respond, Spain will face further legal proceedings. Hopefully this will lead to improvements in the lives of all zoo animals in Spain."
So it seems it's always worth having a moan, as Sarah at Born Free says, "These zoos should be shut down and the animals re-homed." Couldn't happen sooner for me, I still can see those poor animals sad faces if I close my eyes.