Join our zoo community

Legislation in Sweden on minimum size of zoo enclosures

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Dan, 9 Sep 2008.

  1. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    659
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thank you so much for these kind and wise words, Meaghan Edwards!

    Spread the word - make your politicians aware of this issue!
     
  2. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,958
    Location:
    Sussex by the Sea
    Yikes! It's not as if they haven't buggered everythig else up. Why on earth should an idiot politician have any say at all on the size of enclosure for a coati or a hippo or a saddle-billed stork? I think I'd rather trust the expertise of those actually keeping the animals rather than that of the self-serving, ignorant politician. And heaven help us if they call for advice from the so-called experts - such as, in the UK, the cursed RSPCA.

    More legislation means more time and money spent checking that the letter of the law has been followed which means less time and money spent actually making sure that things are done properly.

    And that's to say nothing about the fallacy that size is such a dominant factor in determining whether an animal is being looked after "well".
     
  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    2,958
    Location:
    Melbourne
    A look at the "Worst Zoos" thread would suggest that there is indeed a place for legislated minimum enclosure standards.
     
  4. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    10,638
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    How low can we go? Worst zoos are usually not zoos accredited by regional zoo organisations like EAZA. And if they are they are usually part of a programme to upgrade standards in sub-standard zoos. EAZA and most other zoo organisations like AZA, ARAZPA et al have minimum standards of animal husbandry, management, veterinary care, exhibitry et al before zoos are accepted in. Besides most coop breeding programmes have husbandry guidelines of which part are minimum enclosure sizes, optimum holding capacities and loads of other aspects involved in the successful management of (species) in the care of EAZA zoos.


    The term worst sadly dubbed and daubed upon frequently to define bad exhibits singled out in good zoos for mega-vertebrates which damn usually cost a deal to remodel or redevelop for the species concerned. The fact that politicians are jumping on this band-wagon is worrying if they do not consult recognised zoo experts, but those organisations which only deal with pets or animal welfare that have a hidden agenda (f.i. zoo closures). I personally find that the guidelines set by the EU and politicians for zoos are frequently ill-advised, ill-thought out and hardly reflect the real needs and requirements of exotic wildlife in zoos. Just look at how the EU and politicians deal with livestock ... a totally different ball game (it is the economy stupid) and the very reason that any welfare and veterinary guidelines are obsolete, laughable and make the subjects - exotic wildlife and zoos - worse for wear!

    Alas and if you have a bad sense of humour you would now choke on your last meal :rolleyes: ... incidentally the funding base for most zoos is frequently municipality or province based. In other words, the very same politicians who pose as experts that define minimum political standards for zoos.
     
  5. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    659
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well, in the democratic West that is the way we settle things. We make law on how things should be or not be.

    My point is that in my country, Sweden, atrocities like the one we can see in for instance Asian zoos or North American "roadside zoos" are forbidden to exist. How can that not be a good thing?
     
  6. CZJimmy

    CZJimmy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    2,271
    Location:
    Uk
    I think the point that sooty mangeby is trying to make is that this "law" should be made by people who actually know what they are on about.

    The average politician won't have a clue about animals or their needs
     
  7. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    10,638
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    I agree with the previous poster, Dan. Our politicians are woefully inept when it comes to understanding animal welfare in livestock and in exotic wildlife. That is why laws driven by politicians on animal welfare are frequently ineffective, ill-thought out and plainfully miserable to the subjects concerned - in this case exotic wildlife and zoological institutions -.

    Now, most regions have their own zoo organisations that must abide by the criteria set by these zoo organisations. Part of that is conditions on basic animal care, husbandry and management. Standards have also been set for exhibitry, transport and veterinary health et al and participation in ex situ / in situ conservation work, education and prioritising actions for species, families, whole fyla et al. The coop breeding programmes run by EAZA have a component for husbandry guidelines. These guidelines include all available information on captive management of a given taxon, their optimum requirements in captivity and their outlook in the wild and what zoos need to do to rectify that situation in the wild. Aside from species coordinator and committee, mostly zoo staff members, independent advisors are recruited to have a critical look at those guidelines in terms of health, exhibitry, conservational and educational aspects and many more issues and also serve on the species committees as such.

    I find that working method far more effective than any political bandwagon jumping or scare-mongering on individual exhibits, general animal welfare and all. Leave that to the real experts and instead provide for a political platform and good funding base for accredited zoos, conservation and conservation education. Otherwise, we end up with these ridiculous municipal guidelines that preclude zoos from developing their breeding programmes (e.g. the sit with black rhinos in the current exhibits at Magdeburg is a case in point and I can think of so many others).

    Oh, and should you still have some illusions left .... why not look at our EU guidelines for livestock transport and veterinary health. Livestock transport are ridiculous beyond the pale - with frequent stops on long haul transport across Europe for livestock in multi animal packed trucks -. Now, I do not know a more stressful sit for animals to be in! And any EU veterinary regulations are a joke based upon containment rather than treatment of zoonotic diseases ... - kill livestock with or without FMD, even though full vaccination is available and a viable alternative -(for being economical with the economic truth). The economy and agricultural interrests wield their angry and ugly head also where this relates to guidelines on livestock animal transport ... virtually none exist whatsoever leading to inept transport, carriage, documentation, veterinary screening et al and frequent unnecessary deaths in livestock (.. well it is only livestock ay)!

    So, instead of thinking carefully about veterinary health and or animal transport issues, the politicians put the economy first over the environment every bloody single time (not just in Europe, but everywhere)! How condescending can we be ...???

    It is the environment stupid (figure of speech here, no reason to get offended and no pun intended also)! Look at climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and forest cover loss (not just tropical, equally temperate or cold clime) and how politicians are dealing with that ... so undecisively ... please let the next generations come up with the answers ... Really, we have no time left to play, we must act now/yesterday/2000/beyond! Now, that is the real truth about the current political spectrum! So, if you wish to complain ...., do it for the real issues please. :eek:
     
  8. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,958
    Location:
    Sussex by the Sea
    Agree wholly.

    Self-policing works best, every time.

    I work in education. In the UK, government schools are wrapped up in red tape, government directives and political interference. Independent schools are not. They do things as they wish to, within very loose guidelines, and are self-policing. Althoguh they are obviosuly not playing on a level playing field, the success of indpenedent schools far outweights that of a government ones - despite there being brilliant staff in those governement schools.

    Dan says that this is the way things are done in the "Democratic West - we make laws on things". there are many - myself included - who would argue that we have too many laws. I'm not for one minute preaching some sort of anarchist agenda, but I do think that governmental interference is a Bad Thing. Let politicians deal with what they must deal with, and let the rest of us get on with our lives without being told what to do or how to do it by someone whose possesses neither intellect nor knowledge to any great extent.
     
  9. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    659
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks for your replies! I will adress Sooty Mangabey and CZJimmy here, and reply to Kifaru Bwana in a later post.

    In most cases of political debates I am all in favour of free market solutions (and yes, sooty - we definitely have too many laws in general, I totally agree...), but animal welfare issuses is one of the ABSOLUTE exceptions to me.

    When sooty mangabey for instance writes "Why on earth should an idiot politician have any say at all on the size of enclosure for a coati or a hippo or a saddle-billed stork? .", I, first of all, have to reply that all laws are "prepared" (can´t find the right English word) by civil servants and experts of various kinds. In my example in this thread - laws on minimum size for zoo enclosures in Sweden - lots of zoological, veterinary etc expertise will have been consulted before the law was passed. The requirements were not made up at whim by "idiot politicians".

    I really have a very hard time understanding how MINIMUM requirements for zoo enclosures could be a problem for you! As I have argumented earlier, this legislation makes atrocities like for instance these that we see in Asian zoos and in North American "roadside zoos" totally impossible in Sweden.

    How on earth could that not be a good thing?!!![/B]
     
  10. Jodea

    Jodea Active Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2008
    Posts:
    42
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    One important fact to make clear is that this document that Dan is mentioning isn't a law. It's regulations written by the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Welcome to the Swedish Board of Agriculture - Jordbruksverket [NS4 version]) as a complement to the Animal Protection Enactment (own translation) which is a complement document to the Animal Protection Law (own translation again). The law is the only of those which is made by politicians directly. It was last changed in 1988 and concerns everything that is animal related (pets, farms, horse sports, circuses, experiments on animals and so on). There are several regulations made by the agriculture board concerning different areas of animal protection and the one we are discussing applies only on animals shown in zoos. As Dan has said, it was revised in 2004, and as far as I've understand, SAZA (Swedish Association of Zoos and Aquaria) was given the opportunity to effect parts of it during that process.

    I think that it's a good way to ensure a minimum level of the standard in our zoos but it´s has some weak links.
     
  11. docend24

    docend24 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 May 2008
    Posts:
    349
    Location:
    Prague
    That's not a good thing at all. The impact is what matters. Good intentions are very probably way to hell.
     
  12. Meerkatter

    Meerkatter New Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    3
    Location:
    London
    Great thread Dan.

    So to be 100% clear it's NOT law in Sweden to have minimum enclosure sizes?

    Does anyone know how it works in the UK? Is it similar? Does the BIAZA set out detailed guidelines in relation to size of enclosures, enrichment practices? And if a zoo isn't up to scratch what happens? Do they get kicked out of the organisation or are they ever get shut down?

    Personally I don't think there's any harm in having a minimum requirement so long as doesn’t get confused with being the recommended requirement.

    I very much doubt politicians come into zoos to check for themselves. Like most people seem to agree they probably couldn't tell their arse from their elbow let alone interpret an animal’s behaviour or determine what best for its well being. But I image zoos get inspected all the time, by "zoo experts" or vets who have some idea what's going on, on behalf of the government? OR are they not qualified?

    Do we think inspections are a good idea? Or even necessary in the UK? Are these inspections taken seriously by those taking them?
     
  13. Jodea

    Jodea Active Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2008
    Posts:
    42
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Yes, it's law on the minimum enclosure sizes in Sweden. And in the most other countries there also some legislation that ensures the welfare of the animals even though it might not be stated specific sizes for zoo enclosures.
     
  14. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    721
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    The link to PDF is dead, does anybody have a mirror?
     
  15. Thesweham

    Thesweham Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Aug 2014
    Posts:
    241
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden.
  16. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    721
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg