STAFF REPORTER BRUSSELS/PALMA

THE “majority” of zoological parks in Spain, including those in the Balearics don't meet the “minimum requirements” in animal welfare, a pilot study undertaken by the Born Free foundation claimed yesterday.

The foundation, working in collaboration with 32 non-governmental organisations has been researching standards at zoos and animal parks in the Balearics, and other regions including Valencia, the Canary Islands, Asturias, Aragon and Cantabria.

Foundation press spokesman Daniel Turner claimed: “There were some common factors at all the sites we looked at in Spain, such as the fact that staff caring for the animals weren't qualified to do so and that inspectors were lacking experience. They didn't force the zoos and animal parks to meet minimum requirments.” Turner, presenting the results of the research in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, said that the majority of the sites were breaking the law to a greater or lesser degree.

The foundation's work which began four years ago, resulted in Spain being condemned in December last year by the EU Court of Justice for its failure to measure up to standards. But Turner said that the course of action chosen by the EU wasn't going to solve the problem because individual national governments didn't have the specialised knowledge of how to apply the law.