Saturday 10 December 2016

Zoo animals are not commodities to be cynically bred and butchered

Leo Oosterweghel

Published 14/02/2014 | 02:30

A piece of the giraffe Marius is seen hung up in a cage occupied by primates at Copenhagen Zoo. Thomas ekfeldt
A piece of the giraffe Marius is seen hung up in a cage occupied by primates at Copenhagen Zoo. Thomas ekfeldt

Cold, calculated, cynical and callous. These are the words I would use to describe the events that occurred earlier this week in Copenhagen Zoo. The case of Marius the giraffe pushes the debate around animal welfare to the fore and the lens is now firmly focused on zoo ethics.

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The reason Dublin Zoo expressed sadness at the events that unfolded in Denmark when a healthy giraffe was euthanised was based primarily on the fact that there were viable alternatives. Other zoos in the UK, Continental Europe and the Middle East offered to house the giraffe and it could have lived out its life.

I feel it is important to distinguish between euthanasia to end suffering due to old age, disease or injury and the euthanasia of healthy animals because they are surplus or genetically over-represented, as claimed by Copenhagen Zoo.

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