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The small zoo in the Magdalena Peninsula, in Santander, has been criticised by animal rights activists for the poor conditions for the animals after the shocking images were shared on social media. A petition has been created to close the Magdalena Zoo.
In the last few days, the zoo faced an onslaught of criticism after park visitors saw a dead sea lion was left in plain sight and the seal display area was reduced to a pond.
The zoo, which houses seals, sea lions and penguins, had also left the animals in poor conditions and covered in algae and slime.
Instagram influencer, Laura Gangoso, condemned the zoo while posting a video on her social media channel.
She said: “We arrived at the seal enclosure and we saw that the water was stagnant and greenish.
“We saw a sick or dead seal (in poor condition) floating, its surface was full of verdin, a kind of moss or grass, since it had been floating for a long time without submerging.”
Since the images were shared and published by La Vanguardia newspaper, a petition has been signed by more than 20,000 protesters calling for the immediate closer of the zoo.
Pablo Bárcena, the person behind the change.org petition, said: “This has been going on for decades.
“What was a polar bear doing in the heart of Santander?
“Which, by the way, died in terrible conditions.
“These animals are in terrible conditions, they are clearly sad and apathetic.
“It makes no sense to have them imprisoned in that space.
“The climatic and social conditions and the small space are not adequate for these species.”
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The Department of the Environment of the Santander City Council apologised and claimed the dead animal had died of natural causes.
They also said all the animals had been properly cared for during the coronavirus lockdown.
Margarita Rojo, responsible for the area in the Town Hall, argued the facilities are adequate for the animals because the salt water comes directly from the sea.
Over the years, the small zoo has faced ongoing calls for immediate closure due to both animal welfare and political demand.
In 2015, former mayor of Santander, Iñigo de la Serna, proposed turning it into an auditorium.
The year after, the Magdalena Master Plan were considering a renovation.
Another closure request was submitted on change.org back in 2018.
Law 32/2007 of Spain’s Penal Code provides that the government will take measures to ensure that farm animals are not caused unnecessary suffering.
It also provides for the licensing of the use of animals in research, prohibits testing cosmetics of manuals and incorporates the Three Rs principles.
It was enacted to complied with the European Union requirements on farm animals.
However, Spain has been found to be lacking in the implementation of these provisions.
In 2011, the European Commission issued a reasoned opinion calling on Spain to address deficiencies in complying with legislation on the welfare of animals at slaughter.
According to the World Protection’s Animal Protection Index, Spain received a C out of possible grades A-G in 2014.
Spain is considered to have moderate animal protections by international standards and is notorious for continuing with the cruel and brutal bullfighting.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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