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U.K. Zoos Get Failing Grade – Inspectors, Too

uk-london-zoo-091012Most British zoos don’t even meet minimal standards of care. One in four zoos don’t even provide basic sufficient food and water to the animals supposedly in their care.

A research team at the University of Bristol that studied 192 zoo inspection reports concluded that the care of animals at zoos in this “nation of animal lovers” is very poor. [readon]

Overall, 47 percent of zoos failed on two or more of the basic criteria for health care. One in four zoos don’t have a satisfactory program of veterinary care. One in four even failed to take action after being cited in a previous inspection.

The inspections themselves also failed to meet the standards laid out by the zoos’ own trade association, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). For example, no matter the size of the zoo, all but one of the inspections were carried out in a single day or less. Inspectors sometimes visited two or more zoos in a single day. And in many cases, the inspections were not carried out by the correct number of inspectors.

Not surprisingly BIAZA downplayed the report, and told the Daily Mail that it was “delighted to note that overall its members scored significantly higher than non-members for welfare measures.”

The study was sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, which noted that “the public has a right to expect that government-appointed zoo inspectors have the relevant expertise to carry out inspections and that zoos are delivering on their legal obligations to carry out conservation, education and research.”

Neither of those expectations appears to be being met.