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Public consultation as part of the REFIT evaluation of the Zoos Directive (Council Directive 1999/22/EC relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos)

Policy field(s)


Environment, nature

Target group(s).


All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation.

Period of consultation


                        From 15.09.2016  to 08.12.2016

Objective of the consultation



This consultation is designed to gather opinions on the EU Zoos Directive (Council Directive 1999/22/EC) and its implementation to date, as part of the Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT).

The REFIT evaluation looks at whether the Directive is proportionate and fit for purpose, and is delivering as expected. Specifically, it assesses the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of the legislation.

The objectives of the consultation are:

  • Gathering information and data that cannot be found through desk research and additional sources of evidence.
  • Informing and enabling feedback, giving the possibility to a broad range of stakeholders to provide views, feedback and perceptions on how the Directive is put into practice and if it's achieving its goal of contributing to biodiversity conservation.

Please go to the evaluation website to find the details of the REFIT evaluation timetable and process.

You are invited to read the privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

Zoos Directive – general objective

Adopted in 1999, the Zoos Directive is designed to protect wild animals and to conserve biodiversity, thereby strengthening the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity.

Zoos Directive – specific objectives

In order to protect wild animals and conserve biodiversity, the Zoos Directive requires all EU countries to:

  • Adopt measures for the licencing and inspection of zoos in order to strengthen the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity.

By means of a licencing and inspection system, all EU countries have to ensure that zoos implement the following conservation measures:

  • Participating in one or more of the following: Research/Training/Exchange of information/Captive breeding, repopulation or reintroduction of species into the wild
  • Promoting public education and awareness/provide information about species exhibited and their habitats
  • Keeping animals under appropriate conditions with good veterinary care
  • Preventing escape of animals and intrusion of outside pests and vermin
  • Keeping appropriate, sharable data records of the zoo’s animals

Only if zoos carry out the measures listed above, they will be licenced by the competent authorities. Once licenced, compliance has to be monitored (for example by regular inspections).

Zoos that aren't licenced or don't meet the licencing conditions have to be closed to the public or have to comply with appropriate requirements imposed by the competent authorities within a period not exceeding two years.

The Directive doesn't contain a system by which EU countries report back on results and progress to the Commission in order to check whether the Directive is achieving its aims.

You are invited to have a look at the EU Zoos Directive Good Practices Document for further information about the Directive.

How to submit your contribution


You can contribute to this public consultation by filling out the online questionnaire.

You may find it useful to have a look at the reference documents including the glossary before you fill in the questionnaire.

The questionnaire is available in 23 official EU languages. Replies may be submitted in any of these languages. Given possible delays in translating replies submitted in some languages, contributions in English are welcome, as they will help the Commission to process the survey more swiftly.

For methodological reasons, all questions are compulsory. However, it is possible to answer 'no opinion' or "don't know". There are also free text boxes which enable you to give alternatives to the options provided in a multi-choice reply.

You may pause at any time and continue later. Once you have submitted your answers, you can download a copy of your completed responses.

Together with your contribution you will be asked to provide background information (your name as an individual or organization, type of organization or company, your EU Transparency Register ID number if applicable, the country in which you carry out your activities, your level of activity, your field of interest). Please note that all this information is mandatory in order to process your reply. You will nevertheless be able to have your reply published anonymously (see protection of personal data)

View the questionnaire

Reference documents


Council Directive 1999/22/EC relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos

Evaluation Roadmap

EU Zoos Directive Good Practices Document


Contact details of responsible service


Directorate-General Environment – Unit D3

European Commission

Directorate-General Environment

BU 5 – 6/140

B-1049 Bruxelles


View the contributions


As part of the European Transparency Initiative, the Commission asks organisations (including NGOs, trade associations, enterprises etc.) who wish to participate in public consultations to provide the Commission and the public with information about whom and what they represent, their objectives, funding and structures, by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.

  • If you are a registered organisation, please fill in your Register ID number in the questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representing the views of your organisation.
  • If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to register now. Then return to this page to submit your contribution as a registered organisation.

During the analysis of replies to a consultation, contributions from respondents who choose not to register will be treated as individual contributions (unless the contributors are recognised as representative stakeholders through Treaty provisions, European Social Dialogue, Art. 154-155 TFEU).

Results of consultation and next steps


The Commission is committed to providing feedback on consultations. A short factual summary as well as a brief synopsis report on the results of the consultation will be published on the evaluation website.

Protection of personal data


The contributions to this public consultation will be published on the internet, unless you provide a substantial justification for your opposition to the publication of your contribution (see questionnaire). It is important to read the Commission website on Protection of personal data and the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

The questionnaire leaves you several options regarding the publication of your data. Please note that regardless of the option chosen, your contribution may be subject to a request for access to documents under Regulation 1049/2001. In such cases, the request will be assessed against the conditions set out in the Regulation and in accordance with applicable data protection rules.

Specific privacy statement

The website is available in English and 22 other official EU languages:

BG - CS - DA - DE - EL - ET - ES - FI - FR - HR - IT - LV - LT - HU - MT - NL - PL - PT - RO - SK - SL - SV