More than three quarters of British zoos are failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards.
A study of inspections of 192 zoos in the UK showed only 47 are meeting all the legal requirements of the Zoo Licensing Act, with some falling down on the most basic aspects.
Will Travers, the CEO of the Born Free Foundation, said: "I am greatly disappointed to discover that so many zoos in Britain, which are often held up as industry leaders in Europe, appear to be performing so poorly in terms of animal welfare." A quarter of zoos failed to maintain a proper programme of veterinary care, while a similar proportion were marked down after failing to meet standards covering the provision of food and water. Farm parks with wild animals and bird collections performed particularly badly.
The University of Bristol report, funded by Born Free, said farm parks scored poorly on the inspection criteria because they did not have the resources or expertise to deal with the more exotic animals added to their domestic animal collections.
The inspections took place between 2005 and 2008.