We previously discussed the disturbing video of employees at the Copenhagen Zoo euthanizing and then dissecting a healthy young giraffe in front of children. Now the zoo is again under fire after killing two older lions and two young lions to make way for a new breeding male. As before, it is part of the zoo’s diversity in breeding program. Notably, the dead giraffe was fed to the lions previously. They were then themselves put on the block.
The zoo said that “[b]ecause of the pride of lions’ natural structure and behavior, the zoo has had to euthanize the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves.” Other zoos did not take the lions so they were killed — four of as many as 5000 such zoo and aquaria animals killed in Europe every year to maintain diversity.
Critics insist that the policy is often used as an excuse to bring in young animals that tend to attract more visitors since, Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, “[t]he doe-eyed newborn has lots of star potential and earning capacity.” I am not willing to ascribe such a motivation to these professionals who obviously love animals. However, that does not get them off the hook in my book. I do believe that there is some moral obligation to a zoo animal once you accept them and raise them in your facility. If you want to replace them, I believe you have to either find room or another zoo or delay the new addition. It is like a scene out of “Secondhand Lions.” I find the idea of killing inconvenient animals appalling. These are living beings that are being discarded like out-of-date props.
What do you think?