CONCLUSIONS chapter of the study titled
Inspecting Zoos: A study of the official zoo inspection system in England from 2005 to 2011
(Casamitjana, J, 2012)
Does the official zoo inspection system in England work?To answer this question we chose to investigate the system over the six-year period 2005-2011 using information provided by the key players of the system. We chose not to compareit with other similar systems or to test it to quantify its efficiency. In this regard, this study has
been introspective, trying to find the weakness of the system “from within”, against the
background of the EC Zoos Directive.The main reason for having chosen this method was to avoid an
criticism of itsconclusions
. Since this study has been commissioned by the Captive Animals’ Protection
Society which has traditionally hold an ethical position against the existence of zoos on thegrounds of animal cruelty, any study produced by it could erroneously be labelled as
“biased” against zoos, and dismissed beforehand not only by the zoo industry
itself(understandably), but also by the public bodies regulating it (worryingly). If CAPS had
applied their own “unofficial” inspection
system on the same subjects for the same period of
time and had shown to produce completely different results than the “official” one, it would
not be surprising to see the particular ideology of the organisation held responsible for thatdifference. However, if the study is made in a replicable form from information coming fromofficial sources alone
instead of unofficial ones
it would be more difficult to justify suchprejudgement. Having had experience of this type of situations (Casamitjana, 2004a,b), thisnew introspective approach seemed more robust
incidentally, this was in fact the main
reason for having chosen only England and not all of the UK, since the only “official” list
ofzoos currently in existence is the one for this country.Nevertheless, despite the fact that the study was designed to be as objective as possible,there is no denying that the author (and commissioning organisation) already has a positionregarding what the perceived outcome would be, albeit such position was never imposed inthe collection of data or calculation of the results. In the same way that most researchersapproaching a problem do not begin from a
scenario but from a specific
hypothesis to reject, the author began with the “null” hypothesis that the E
system “works”, trying to find evidence
to reject it. This explains why more effortswere made in detecting weaknesses and failures to the system than to find strengths and
successes, in the same way that a “product tester” in charge to see if a product really works
would set experiments within normal parameters to find ways to break it or make it fail. Such
tester is not “biased” against the product, and a good product will defeat any tester.
Using only information obtained from the local authorities, DEFRA/AH, the EC Commissionand the zoo operators
themselves, to the method was to try to “defeat the tester”. The
system may not work and yet the information provided by its own key players might notdemonstrate this, but if such information, using the very same rules of the system, alreadyreveals sufficient inconsistencies, errors, omissions, misinterpretations, and
Casamitjana, J. (2012).
Inspecting Zoos: A study of the official zoo inspection system in England from 2005 to 2011.
Protection Society, Manchester. 243pp.