Copenhagen Zoo in the news – again


The killing of four healthy lions by “euthanized injection” at the Copenhagen zoo has sparked another round of debate in the zoo community and beyond.
Two of the lions were older adults and the other two lions were cubs that were too young to fend for themselves. The Copenhagen zoo explained in the media that they euthanized the animals to make room for a younger generation of lions.
I have been seeing a microcosm of the debate on a LinkedIn forum in which I participate. Here is a sample of some of the comments that have been exchanged between participants. See if you can guess the origins:
In zoos our primary role is to educate visitors, we need to show all aspects of nature. Nature does contain both life and death.
Nice try Mr. _____. This is horrific zoo management devoid of animal ethics. If the zoo opted to have the lions they had, they had an obligation to hold onto them or place them until they died of natural causes.
The giraffe in Copenhagen was euthanized in order to avoid inbreeding. Should we just neglect the effects of inbreeding on animal and population health? It is never taken lightly to euthanize an animal, but should the public not know what goes on in the zoo? We need to be open and honest about what we do. The world might be connected through the web, but the public in Denmark are supportive of what we do here. I must ask why is it so hard to accept that cultural differences exist, you don’t need to try to convert everyone to what you feel is right.
If the Copenhagen Zoo feels like it is not getting the support that it should, from other zoos, perhaps it’s because their lack of public relations sensitivity has put a lot of zoos in defensive mode… UNNECESSARILY!
( Australia) This is a subject that is difficult to deal with without emotions takes over. Except of course if we talk about food production animals which for whatever irrational reason are not a concern, despite their welfare frequently are totally compromised. What I really do appreciate from Copenhagen Zoo’s standpoint – regardless of my own opinion – is that they have been totally consistent and rational in their approach for a long time, and as a result have a lot more credibility than writers of some of the ridiculous un informed comments seen in the wider discussions around this issue. Anyone who seriously believes that they do not care about their animals are sadly mistaken.
Sorry, can’t agree that Copenhagen has been rational. Your opinion. Not mine. And again, have to disagree, zoo administrators do make decisions based on bringing in money; babies make money. And quite subjective to say that reproduction is necessary part of captivity: in my opinion, rationalization to make babies to make money. Copenhagen and credibility in one sentence: that’s amusing. And please don’t try to snow your audience with “regardless of my opinion”: what each of us writes is of our opinion.
I find it very disturbing that the main drive in the arguments against the Danish and European Animal Management is based on the fear of how the public react.

I have left out some of the more personal, mean-spirited exchanges, but you get the idea. This reminds me of some of the Republican – Democrat debates over ObamaCare or the debates over gun-rights. Strong opinions on both sides and both sides convinced they are right! This is the subject I intend to tackle in my book.

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