A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Feb 10, 2014

Healthy Giraffe Killed, Chopped and Fed to Big Cats in Front of Children

Courtesy washingtonpost.com/google images
Zoos are no place for animals.

Copenhagen Zoo killed, dissected and fed a giraffe, Marius, to their big cats while children watched. The zoo asserted that this giraffe, though healthy, possessed genes too common with the other giraffes in the zoo to be used in their breeding program. This was done despite both the posting of online petitions opposing this course of action and the offers of other facilities to take Marius.

The zoo argued that such "culling" occurs in the wild and that they have similarly done this many times with goats, antelope and boar. They further argued that seeing a giraffe this way was educational for youngsters.

I understand that we are always confronted with the constant conflicts of choosing between saving the predator or the prey. Do you let a snake starve because you won't kill a mouse? Such contradictions exist everywhere in our lives. Criminals can behave kindly, pit bull fighters can cherish the family pet dog, and people can kill to protect others. Not every decision is a "Sophie's Choice" but they must all be recognized as the products of a complex world with competing priorities. The mouse and the snake each want to live and will fight to do so.
courtesy abc.com/google images

That said, zoos have educational mandates and responsibilities to treat their animals and visitors humanely. They should not exist to replicate the wars in the wild but rather, if they must exist, to demonstrate compassion, conserve endangered species and teach respect for those with whom we share this planet.

I don't think wild animals should be held captive for our entertainment. I surely don't think they should be massacred for it either.

Originally printed in the Washington Times:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/17/letter-to-the-editor-zoos-should-exhibit-compassio/

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