The Happy Zoo

The HAPPY ZOO project is a not-for profit initiative of VetEffecT to translate an English zoo manual into the most common European languages.


We want to help thousands of animals in European zoos, by providing zoo personnel and inspectors a new handbook on housing and care of animals in their native language: the EU Zoos Good Practices Document.

Defining good practice

Throughout the years a lot of good practice approaches have been developed by zoo associations and EAZA Member institutions. Building on this experience, in July 2015 the European Commission published the EU Zoos Directive Good Practices Document. This document summarises the current state of knowledge and highlights good practices to support zoo professionals and Member States’ competent authorities with a view to helping them achieve the overall objective of strengthening the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity. 

Zoos should implement conservation measures. These measures consist of carrying out conservation, research and training activities, promoting public education and awareness, providing good accommodation for animals, preventing escape and intrusion of pests and keeping up-to-date records of the zoos’ collections. In Chapter Three, good practices are shared by Member States on licensing and inspection, zoo inspector training and penalties for zoos in case of non-compliance.


The Handbook is a beautiful and near-complete reference for zoo personnel and inspectors. It is already used by several zoos and inspection bodies. The more knowledge and understanding about animal care and housing is shared, the better it is for the animals. 


There is a new zoo manual, which is the result of a project led by VetEffecT, funded by the European Commission. This manual (the EU Zoos Good Practices Document) contains a lot of information about the proper housing and care of animals in zoos. The manual is currently available in English only! THE MANUAL

What are we going to do?

We are looking for sponsors and funds that can help translate the textbook into the main languages of Europe. We will then make the manuals online available (for free), so zoo personnel and zoo inspectors can use it throughout Europe.

What can you do?

If you think this is a good idea and you would like to contribute or donate, please contact us!

Our partners

·         The European Commission is already supporting our action!

          The letter EU Authorisation_Ar 7076835.pdf

·         The famous BornFree Foundation from England also supports us: HIER

Supporting organisations

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) supports the spreading of the EU Zoos Directive and the EU Zoos Directive Good Practice Guidelines and published the links on their website.

What is the impact of the EU Zoos Directive on the zoo and aquarium sector? Read More on page 204 and 205 in Open Acces Government, who published an article of EAZA’s Communications Manager on this subject. The EAZA also published in their monthly magazine Zooquaria an issue on promoting good practice

Also in every eNews of the past few months, the EAZA will be highlighting one of the key elements of the Handbook to show how it can help the Zoos to fulfill their Zoo Directive obligations: 

EAZA eNews januari 2017

EAZA eNews mei 2017

EAZA eNews juni 2017

EAZA eNews juli 2017

EAZA eNews augustus 2017

VetEffecT - The Happy Zoo
VetEffecT - The Happy Zoo