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‘Zoothanasia’: Four-day-old baby orangutan needlessly killed at Basel Zoo

Zoos kill otherwise healthy animals for a wide variety of self-serving reasons. The individuals are written off as 'surplus animals' and slaughtered. Zoos call it 'management euthanasia' to sanitize this heinous act.

MARC BEKOFF: A baby Orangutan was killed—not euthanized—at the Basel Zoo after her mother, Revital, died. This is a case of “zoothanasia” as I call it, because killing the baby was not done as a mercy killing because she was suffering from interminable pain or from an incurable disease—she wasn’t. The zoo decided the baby wouldn’t live or have a quality life because she was motherless. This claim is unfounded. (see Note 1) Shame on them.

Killing the baby is ethically indefensible no matter what zoo administrators say. This is not a “radical animal rights” position but rather all about decency and respect for the life of every single individual—the baby should not have been killed. And, of course, the mother should never have been impregnated.

Zoos kill otherwise healthy animals for a wide variety of self-serving reasons. Many people don’t know this. Zoos call it “management euthanasia” to sanitize this heinous act. The individuals are written off as “surplus animals” and slaughtered.

In a BBC News essay by Hannah Barnes called “How many healthy animals do zoos put down?” we learn: “EAZA [European Association of Zoos and Aquaria] does not publish these records or advertise the number of healthy animals that have been culled, but executive director Dr Lesley Dickie estimates that somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 animals are ‘management euthanised’ in European zoos in any given year.”

Three thousand to five thousand animals isn’t a small number at all. Indeed, I was shocked when I learned this fact and that this large number of animals was considered to be disposable at the whim of zoo administrators who then come up with lame excuses for why they killed the animals…

When pressed on the issue of killing healthy animals, zoo directors will often claim that it is “necessary” or “it had to be done” or will use some dismissive strategy such as, “It’s a complicated issue”…

Deciding to kill otherwise healthy individuals really is not complicated at all. Zoos should not kill healthy animals, and if zoo management practices “require” the killing of healthy animals, then these practices need to change. Right now, today.

Also, of course, captive breeding needs to be stopped. The animals who are born in zoos are unlikely ever to be “reintroduced” to their native habitats and might just be killed because zoos find them useless. As outrageous as this sounds, it is a reality that never, ever, should happen.

To sum up, the zoo is 100% responsible for the all too brief existence of this lovely baby; the zoo is responsible for killing her with no just cause at all; the people who made this egregious decision should be ashamed of themselves. SOURCE…


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