Thursday, March 27, 2014

Zoo Makes Headlines By Killing Lions

It is certainly interesting the outrage that the public expressed when a Danish zoo recently killed a giraffe and fed it to the lions. Now, the same zoo is back at it, this time killing four lions, including cubs. These actions, in the minds of the zookeepers, are perfectly justifiable for supposed conservation purposes. Perhaps, there is even some logic in killing these animals in terms of zoo management. The reality is that the animals who are not killed are living a life of constant suffering in their prisons designed for our viewing pleasure. This is all done under the guise of conservation. The animals in the wild can't survive, so we need to imprison them, and occasionally kill them, in order to preserve them. Do you see the irony there? In Austin, we have a zoo that consists of only rescued animals, so I suppose what they are doing is of a higher noble purpose. However, these animals, while they may receive better treatment, are still enslaved for our viewing pleasure. And the cost that people pay to go to the zoo pays for the upkeep of the animals, so it becomes a necessary evil. Somehow, we think of animal imprisonment as different than human imprisonment. It isn't. These animals do not live happy lives. They want more than the limited movement they can manage in their small cages. Lions probably have no interest in being in frigid Denmark, even if they were free of cages there. If we truly cared about animal conservation, we would ban zoos and the keeping of animals and focus our efforts on conserving their habitats. Maybe our animal experts could be helpful to the wild lions of Africa in Africa? Here is a short excerpt from The New York Times story on the lions being killed:

Denmark, the land of enchanting fairy tales and liberal social values, is becoming known as the land of dead zoo animals.
The Copenhagen Zoo, which generated global outrage last month when it killed a healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius, said it had to euthanize four lions this week to clear the path for a newly arrived young male lion. The zoo’s decision created abacklash on social media on Wednesday, with some calling the zoo’s staff members “serial killers” and “murderers.”
The zoo justified the killings of the two parents, ages 14 and 16, and their cubs on the grounds of genetic purity and conservation, noting that the new lion would invariably prey on the cubs, while there was a risk that the older male lion would try to breed with one of the female lions that were his offspring.
“If the zoo had not made the change in the pride now, then we would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females — his own offspring — and thereby give rise to inbreeding,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
For more, click here.

If you have children, consider purchasing Anthony Browne's children's book, Zoo. It perfectly captures the horror of zoos and relates it to children. Browne has amazing insight. Here is a link to the Amazon page for the book.

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