According to an official report, a small zoo in the city of Santander, in northern Spain, is in breach of the law by not complying with some of the provisions of the regional zoo legislation. The leaked report states that the welfare of the animals at Minizoo in Magdalena’s Park (located in a small peninsula) is not “very optimal.” Some of the contents of the report, yet to be made public in its entirety, have been publicised by the non-profit Infozoos

Some of the deficiencies detected were the lack of environmental enrichment, inadequate rest areas, problems with the water filtration system, pumps and sand, the lack of education, conservation and research programs, poor signage, lack of protocols, and issues with their computerization system and staff training. The committee of experts that inspected the zoo (whose names have not been made public yet) submitted a report to the City of Santander, which is studying it. It seems that, despite the deficiencies found, the City, which owns the zoo, has decided to continue with its maintenance and keep it open. Zoo officials stated they are carrying on improvements to address the issues identified. 

Margarita Rojo, the Councillor for the Environment, explained in the January Plenary that they have contacted several zoos to analyse the possible transfer of the animals. However, although relocating younger specimens is relatively easy, it would be more difficult with elderly animals. Councillor Miguel Saro has said, “According to the information revealed by InfoZoos, the report indicates that some aspects of the facilities did not comply with the Law of Zoos and that the welfare of the animals was not the most optimal. We wonder if the delay with the report is due to this fact and to the fact that the government team prefers to make some changes rather than admit these deficiencies.”  Once again, the current zoo licensing and inspection systems do not seem to be good at closing sub-standard zoos. A heavy price all the animals kept captive in them have to pay. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.