Animal rights activists in Spain2020欧洲杯体育投注开户 have called for the closure of a council-run zoo after disturbing images of a dead sea lion half-covered by a plastic bag and a grey seal completely covered with algae drew heated criticism on social media.
They say the Santander visitor attraction is a “throwback” to the bad old days of unhappy animals in small concrete pens.
After thousands of people commented on the pictures of bored-looking penguins and inert seals in tiny, shallow pools at the mini-zoo on Santander’s Magdalena peninsula, local Left-wing opposition parties unsuccessfully tabled a motion before the city council demanding the site be closed.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户“Those pictures convey an image of inconceivable and disgraceful treatment of animals when we see things like the sea lion pen with no water,” said Socialist Party councillor Daniel Fernández.
“This would be unacceptable anywhere in the world, but it is even more surprising in a city that wants to position itself as a tourist attraction”, Mr Fernández added.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户More than 25,000 people have signed an online petition on Change.org to close the Magdalena mini-zoo, built in the 1980s, and animal rights group AnimaNaturalis says more than 6,000 have signed its letter of protest to Santander council.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Santander Mayor Gema Igual denied that there was any mistreatment of the animals at the mini-zoo, however, and the motion was defeated at last week’s council meeting.
Ms Igual, of the conservative Popular Party, said images of a listless grey seal had been taken out of context.
“That photo was of a sleeping animal, and the dead sea lion was not in a place people could see it because it was known to be ill.”
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Aïda Gascón, leader of AnimaNaturalis in Spain, said that the seal covered in green algae “seems to be letting itself die”.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Opposition councillors said they could not understand why the seals’ pools were so stagnant and algae-filled, with seawater from the Atlantic available just metres from the zoo.
Having met with local authorities and inspected the zoo, Ms Gascón said she believed it should be closed gradually, with immediate action taken to improve the welfare of the existing animals.