Cruel World: Up to 5,000 healthy zoo animals – including hundreds of larger ones such as giraffes, lions and bears – are killed by zoos in Europe every year


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The revelation comes in the wake of the international furore over the killing of Marius, a healthy 18-month-old giraffe, by Copenhagen Zoo. It has since been established that five of the animals have been put down by zoos in Denmark since 2012.

Across Europe, 22 healthy zebras, four hippos and two Arabian Oryx were also put down. The Oryx were killed at Edinburgh and London zoos in 2000 and 2001.

Several German zookeepers were prosecuted in 2010 for killing three tiger cubs at Magdeburg Zoo. However, some zoos, such as Twycross in Warwickshire, have a policy of not putting down healthy animals.

Dr Lesley Dickie, executive director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza), told BBC Radio 4’s The Report that between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year across Europe. “That’s our estimate for all animals management euthanised in the zoo, be it tadpoles…

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16 thoughts on “Cruel World: Up to 5,000 healthy zoo animals – including hundreds of larger ones such as giraffes, lions and bears – are killed by zoos in Europe every year

  1. Pingback: Cruel World: Up to 5,000 healthy zoo animals – including hundreds of larger ones such as giraffes, lions and bears – are killed by zoos in Europe every year | GarryRogers Conservation and Science Fiction: #EcoSciFi

  2. Pingback: Cruel World: Up to 5,000 healthy zoo animals &n...

  3. Zoos are a glaring prison, if one just look; yet cleverly disguised as they may appear by their occasional altruistic and beneficial motives. But, as in any private prison, profit, not the welfare of its captives, is of the prime concern.

      • Quite right, Peter. And it really is time to start phasing zoos out and moving the animals to these sanctuaries you mention. Many, of course, can never be returned to the wild, and many will never have even seen it. But something needs to be done soon, and good sanctuaries are just fine. Banning zoos outright should be the answer, but it is not, that would just end up an even bigger blood bath, and I doubt it would ever happen anyway. They have been conning the public for years and profiting from the misery they have caused these poor creatures – they won’t give it up in a hurry. Ghastly places and always will be.

  4. This is not isolated to Europe. Zoos are a business to make money and that is it. The animals we don’t see, the ones not ‘fit’ for public viewing are often: “too old” or “not pretty enough.” These animals are often killed to feed other animals or sold to canned hunts, laboratories; etc.. There are no organizations to oversee such activity as all organizations/governments are being bought and paid for… Animals are commodities; just like humans. We are disposable when it comes to money.

    • Thanks for adding this information, Lorri. You’re absolutely right, of course. They are all driven by greed, and it is heartbreaking to think of these animals, who are supposedly living in a place of safety, being disposed of like this.

      The whole situation is wrong from start to finish and needs to be addressed. The first place to start should be the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

      Their captive breeding programmes are becoming suspect, too. Once they flaunt “membership” of this scheme, zoos seem to think they can do anything they want. They believe it adds to their credibility, but in truth very few animals are actually returned to their natural habitat. They tend to remain as exhibits at the zoos they are born in. Until, of course, as you point out, they are “too old” or “not pretty enough.” Then their fate is sealed.

      Thanks for your comment, Lorri. It is greatly appreciated ~ Amelia 🙂

  5. I was totally shocked about Marius but had no doubt that the case was an unexplicable exception. Then, a day or so later I read that another Danish zoo was considering killing a giraffe (which they didn’t) and that, as you say, every year so many of these creatures have to die. I thought a zoo was a place of refuge and preservation. I’m appalled and very sad.

    • I, too was moved by Marius’ death, a deeply sad event. And they even exploited that. They should be ashamed of themselves.

      Education they called it! Well, Marius’ death, and all that went with it, did after all turn out to be as educational as they stated. But not in the way they had hoped. They managed to educate most of the world as to their callous and greedy practises. Never before have zoos been exposed in this way and given so much adverse publicity. It is now blatantly obvious to all, these people and their organisations are not helping animals in any way – they are helping themselves.

      This exploitation has to stop and these zoos closed down. Though many are aware, most of the public did not realise what went on behind those closed gates. Now they do. So at least dear, sweet little Marius may not have died in vain. His death has opened a whole can of worms.

      Thank you for coming over and sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate it ~ Amelia. 🙂

    • There is no excuse and sadly, no-one is addressing it. Most zoos belong to Association of Zoos and Aquariums (“dedicated to the advancement of zoos and public aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation” – Wiki description). Clearly the organisation either condones this behaviour, they also stand to profit or their authority is not taken seriously. To the zoos, animals are just another commodity. If they are not longer able to turn a profit – they kill them!

      There has been a lot of uproar lately, and a lot of petitions are flying round internationally, especially since the death of Marius the giraffe. Hopefully something will come of this. His death has taken the lid off zoos, so perhaps he will not have died in vain.

      Thank you for visiting, caring and commenting, I really appreciate it. ~ Amelia 🙂

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