Enforcement of Directive 1999/22/EC (Zoo) in Italy and other EU Member States

10 December 2012    
Andrea Zanoni (ALDE)


All Member States are required to comply with Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos and, more specifically, all zoos (as defined in the directive) have to be licensed and are subject to regular inspections to ensure that they comply with the law. It is therefore worrying to learn that most zoos in Italy remain unlicensed and therefore unregulated (Source: EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 — Italy(1), by the Born Free Foundation for the European coalition ENDCAP). This means that thousands of animals kept in these zoos are still living in unacceptable conditions.

Given the importance of this issue, I and other colleagues have contacted the Italian Ministers of the Environment, Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and Health, who are responsible for such matters, but to date, after nearly five months, we have not yet received any reply(2). From the abovementioned EU Zoo Inquiry 2011(3), carried out in 20 EU Member States, it is clear that Italy is not the only country in which many zoos are still unregulated and in breach of Directive 1999/22/EC.

In this regard, can the Commission confirm the number of zoos in the EU, what the percentage of unregulated zoos is and why they are unregulated?

Does it not think it should carry out inspections to ascertain whether the directive is being implemented and enforced in full? What measures have been taken to ensure that all zoos comply with legal requirements and that the animals are kept in appropriate conditions in keeping with the needs of their species? Lastly, what action has been taken against those Member States, such as Italy, which are still not meeting the requirements of Directive 1999/22/EC?

(1)     http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zooreports/Italy-it/pages/BFF_EZR_ITALY_FINAL_24-04-12_SML.pdf
(2)     http://www.andreazanoni.it/it/news/comunicati-stampa/zoo-italia-fuori-legge-zanoni-scrive-ai-ministri-italiani.html
(3)     http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/zoos/eu-zoo-inquiry/.


Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission
The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answers to written questions E-003677/2011 by Richard Ashworth, E-005760/2011 Oreste Rossi, E-006006/2011 Marina Yannakoudakis and E-004837/2012 by Oreste Rossi on the same issue.