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Zoothanasia: The Cruel Practice of Killing Healthy Zoo Animals

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Many zoos customarily kill healthy people they impute to as “surplus” animals given they’re no longer useful to them. The animals can’t be used as breeding machines or they’re holding up space that’s indispensable for other animals of the same or other species. As implicitly reprehensible as the practice of killing over-abundance animals seems, it’s a reality and partial of business as common for many zoos.

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 tell these annals or publicize the series of healthy animals that have been culled, but executive executive 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 5,000 animals isn’t a tiny series at all. Indeed, we was repelled when we schooled this fact and that this large number of animals was considered to be disposable at the humour of zoo administrators. 

‘Do zoos really kill healthy animals?’

An early morning email asking, “Do zoos really kill healthy animals?” alerted me to nonetheless another case of a zoo killing healthy animals, in this instance 9 healthy lion cubs. In an letter by Lauren Lewis, we learn, “A zoo in Sweden has euthanized 9 healthy lion cubs given 2012 given it reportedly could not means to keep them.”

People who didn’t know that zoos do these sorts of offensive things were incensed. 

The zoo that’s been guilty of this massacre is called Boras Djurpark. Bo Kjellson, the CEO of the zoo, is quoted as observant that he “resorts to the controversial use if the animals can't be changed to other zoos or if they are deserted by their group.” Kjellson also notes, “It’s no secret in any way and we do not try to censor that we’re operative this way. … So, it’s, unfortunately, a healthy trail for groups of lions.”

I’ll let you contemplate this nonsensical use of the word “natural.” 

Let’s be clear, the animals are not being euthanized, but rather ‘zoothanized’

If a healthy animal has been put down, the pivotal word is “Death by: Euthanasia (cull)”

Euthanasia is forgiveness killing that is used when an particular is interminably ill or pang from perpetual pain. The lion cubs who were killed were conjunction interminably ill nor pang from perpetual pain. Neither were other animals who have been killed in zoos—they were killed given they weren’t useful any longer to a zoo’s breeding program or other goals, customarily commanded by financial profit.

(For some-more contention of this indicate greatfully see “‘Zoothanasia’ Is Not Euthanasia: Words Matter,” “Killing Healthy Animals in Zoos: ‘Zoothanasia’ is a Reality,” “It’s Still Not Happening at the Zoo: Sharp Divisions Remain,” “Zoos Shall Not Kill Healthy Animals: A Moral Imperative” and The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age.)

Marius, the print child for zoothanasia

Let’s consider Marius, the immature giraffe who became the print child for zoothanasia when he was killed in 2014 at the Copenhagen zoo. His nonessential death brought global courtesy to the iniquitous use of zoothanasia. People who never formerly had gotten concerned in any arrange of animal activism were outraged, and many uttered their opinions.

Nonetheless, outrage within the zoo village and among others did not stop Simon Tonge, the executive executive of the UK’s Whitley Conservation Trust, from claiming that Bengt Holst, the Copenhagen zoo’s systematic executive who wrote off killing Marius as business as usual, is a hero. A few weeks later, four lions were also zoothanized at the same zoo. At the assembly at which Tonge done this statement, I wasn’t the only person who was floored, as we detected at a mangle that afternoon. I theory the definition of the word “hero,” mostly used to impute to people having eminent qualities or to those who have accomplished significant achievements, has taken a new turn. Calling Holst a “hero” is a remarkable corruption of the word.

“Zoothanasia” refers to what many zoos do: they kill healthy supposed “surplus” animals as if they’re disposable and invalid objects. They do this given the trusting and defenseless individuals are old or are genetically passed and wouldn’t make useful contributions to an on-going gene pool (although some could be used for breeding), or they do this “in the name of conservation.” Many try to sanitize the slaughter by using the word “euthanized” or the word “management-euthanized,” but some-more and some-more people comprehend that they’re just trying to trick an uninformed audience, many of whom are repelled when they learn about zoothanasia. 

Concerning the use of zoothanasia, I also had the event to interview Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria (Australia), about her book titled Zoo Ethics. Our interview was published in a piece called “Zoo Ethics and the Challenges of Compassionate Conservation.” 

I asked Gray if she would have killed Marius, overtly awaiting that this was a transparent case of indiscretion and that she simply would contend “no.” Instead, she skirted around the issue and answered:

I determine that there is a disproportion between a death that is in the seductiveness of the particular (euthanasia) and killing which terminates a healthy life. I plea readers to consider about the issues in the disagreeable questions territory [of her book], including the death of Marius, and rise their own arguments. I have deliberately not given elementary answers to what are formidable issues. Many arguments can be mounted. I would wish that students of ethics can labour not only their personal perspective but also the trustworthy arguments to the contrary.

I overtly was very surprised. While Gray and we competence respectfully remonstrate about several aspects of zoo ethics, we suspicion that killing a immature healthy giraffe who was deliberate to be genetically dead would be a use she would not support.

Zoothanasia has got to stop

Zoothanasia has got to stop, and one way to do it is to call widespread courtesy to what some zoos call “business as usual” and have people criticism loudly. As the late Gretchen Wyler has aptly noted, “Cruelty can’t mount the spotlight.”

World Zoothanasia Day is Feb 9

I’ve dubbed Feb 9 World Zoothanasia Day and we wish that people will make their views famous before, on and after that day. 

Please stay tuned for some-more contention of zoothanasia and let’s wish that it fast disappears as the customary handling procession as some-more and some-more people take a clever mount against it. Putting a stop to zoothanasia is prolonged overdue.

This essay was creatively published by Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission.

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