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Magdeburg Zoo director defends tiger killing » Zoologischer Garten Magdeburg

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  #16
Old 30-04-2010

German law is indeed clear on this. I just feel that the law is inadequate where wildlife and zoo animals are concerned and does not take into account species conservation value or considerations in terms of their management within zoos.

What perhaps has promoted this arguement is:
A) In livestock industry culling animals is more or less routine
B) as in some zoos euthanasia of unwanteds does occur and is not publicised.

Further, I think - but not sure - that the EEP guidelines of the tiger programme are clear on this. I do not know whether Zoo Magdeburg did consult first with the species coordinator or not?
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  #17
Old 01-05-2010

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Originally Posted by Kifaru Bwana View Post
German law is indeed clear on this. I just feel that the law is inadequate where wildlife and zoo animals are concerned and does not take into account species conservation value or considerations in terms of their management within zoos.
When you want to incorporate something like this into a law you are entering such a grey area that you really don't want to be in as either a law enforcement agency or a judge. IMO it's rather impossible (or at least VERY hard) to clearly and objectively state when zoo animals can be killed and when not. There's no real definition of the word "surplus" possible...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kifaru Bwana View Post
What perhaps has promoted this arguement is:
A) In livestock industry culling animals is more or less routine
B) as in some zoos euthanasia of unwanteds does occur and is not publicised.
Imo the livestock industry is not in the same league as Zoo's. Zoo's should sooner be compared to private individuals keeping exotics then companies that produce meat for consumption. And it seems that if euthenasia occurs then they are committing a crime, and the people involved should be prosecuted. The fact the law isn't enforced properly just proves that the green-wingers might actually have a point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kifaru Bwana View Post
Further, I think - but not sure - that the EEP guidelines of the tiger programme are clear on this. I do not know whether Zoo Magdeburg did consult first with the species coordinator or not?
What do you mean "clear on this"? If they state that the animals should be killed then that isn't more important then a LAW is it? Besides, they got the green light to breed, but afterwards they found out that they ended up with hybrids. That's not the same as willingly breeding hybrids...

To be perfectly honest, I don't really see why Magdeburg couldn't keep these animals for display only and continue breeding when they were dead or moved on to another collection.
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  #18
Old 01-05-2010

The German Tierschutzgesetz IS inadequate on this regard. This has been discussed in Germany on the behalf of various other similar cases ("Knut", anyone?) before, without any useful outcome. Sometimes, like in this case, national and international (German vs EU, zoo vs. animal right etc.) regulations collide, making it almost impossible to follow one law without violating another.

In Switzerland or Denmark, the national legal system allows zoos more freedom in their decision on this behalf. Surplus animals can be euthanized if no apt husbandry to place them into can be found. However, the media there will still try to create turmoil when a popular species is involved-see the hippo discussion at Basle.

For those who might not know otherwise and think that the Madgeburg Zoo staff went rogue: the decision to euthanize the tiger cubs in question was undertaken on orders of the studbook coordinator. IF you're looking for a scapegoat, blame him/her-or Henning Wiesner, who in his time as director of the Hellabrunn zoo reacted snooty and stubborn when some people (who happen to know their stuff) pointed out to him that the subspecies origin of the very tiger causing all this mess was somehow fishy, and insisted on breeding with the animal.

The Madgeburg Zoo clearly didn't jump the gun on the situation, but assembled a factual commission first and contacted the local state veterinarian. More can be read on the public explaination published by the zoo:
ZOO-MAGDEBURG
Do ask if you need any help with the translation.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't really see why Magdeburg couldn't keep these animals for display only and continue breeding when they were dead or moved on to another collection".
Then I would like to ask you, in all honesty, to climb down from your ivory tower and assemble a fully equipped, well-managed and financially sustainable exotic animal rescue center network that could keep tigers and other exotics legally and appropriately, especially in accordance with German law... There is a serious lack of such institutions all over Europe, and so far hardly anything has come up other than people trying to tell zoos what they should do and what not, but without offering any realistic alternative or (financial) support.

"IMO it's rather impossible (or at least VERY hard) to clearly and objectively state when zoo animals can be killed and when not. There's no real definition of the word "surplus" possible..."

I think there are various situations where it is pretty clear when a zoo animal can be killed; I even mentioned some already (to avoid uncurable disease/suffering, to prevent an epidemic spread...). Additionally, I also think that there are pretty clear situations in which a zoo animal is surplus: when the zoo cannot offer any short/long-term adequate solution of keeping the animal appropriately and when no adequate alternative husbandry can be found. Or do you think it would be better if the tigers had ended up in some inadequate makeshift cages behind the scenes or, to provide more grist for the anti-zoo lobby mill, had been given to some shady animal trader and had been sent off to China?

Funny enough, several German zoos like Nuremberg or Hellabrunn kill part of their surplus zoo livestock(sic!) every year to feed the whole carcasses to their carnivores (a recommendable thing to do, if you ask me). But since these are "only" herbivores such as sasin or axis deer, hardly anyone rallies against this (thank goodness). But once "holy" animals such as tigers or hippos are involved, everyone goes bonkers...Speciesism in its purest form.
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  #19
Old 01-05-2010

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Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
In Switzerland or Denmark, the national legal system allows zoos more freedom in their decision on this behalf. Surplus animals can be euthanized if no apt husbandry to place them into can be found. However, the media there will still try to create turmoil when a popular species is involved-see the hippo discussion at Basle.
Exactly! The public in Denmark is fine with us feeding surplus antelope/zebra etc. to our carnivores, but if a zoo has to euthanize a "cutie" the media goes on a frenzy. It has happened twice in the last couple of years with Aalborg Zoo (bear cubs) and Copenhagen Zoo (tiger cubs). Yet nothing is said when it is a blackbuck in Ree Park being used as cheetah food?

Fortunately, both zoos stuck to their guts and the whole thing died out pretty soon.
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  #20
Old 01-05-2010

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Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
Then I would like to ask you, in all honesty, to climb down from your ivory tower and assemble a fully equipped, well-managed and financially sustainable exotic animal rescue center network that could keep tigers and other exotics legally and appropriately, especially in accordance with German law...
Didn't i give the answer to this quite clearly? I think that the Magdeburg Zoo is (quite probably) able to keep these animals themselves. If they, in their lifetime, could be moved on to another suitable collection then fine but if not (which is, seeing the shortage of said rescue centers, quite likely the case) then they should have kept them themselves.

Quote:
I think there are various situations where it is pretty clear when a zoo animal can be killed; I even mentioned some already (to avoid uncurable disease/suffering, to prevent an epidemic spread...).
I'm sure the German law will provide escapes in their laws for uncurable disease/suffering or epidemic spread!? Else no elderly animal would ever be able to be euthanised, and i bet they are. So that's not the point.

Quote:
Additionally, I also think that there are pretty clear situations in which a zoo animal is surplus: when the zoo cannot offer any short/long-term adequate solution of keeping the animal appropriately and when no adequate alternative husbandry can be found.
You call that an objective rule? How would ever define what "appropriately" is, and when is there no long/short term solution? When have you tried hard enough to find a new home? I wouldn't like to be the judge with a law like this.

I think that Magdeburg would be able to hold these animals themselves, but they think that freeing their space up for pure-blood animals is "better", and i beg to differ.

Quote:
Funny enough, several German zoos like Nuremberg or Hellabrunn kill part of their surplus zoo livestock(sic!) every year to feed the whole carcasses to their carnivores (a recommendable thing to do, if you ask me). But since these are "only" herbivores such as sasin or axis deer, hardly anyone rallies against this (thank goodness). But once "holy" animals such as tigers or hippos are involved, everyone goes bonkers...Speciesism in its purest form.
Maybe true, but killing these animals actually serves a purpose other then clearing up space. In order to feed the carnivores, animals have to be killed. I do see a distinct difference.

This also would get me a lot less twitchy if there wasn't a clear financial advantage to Magdeburg Zoo. It somehow annoys me a hell of a lot more that animals are killed for financial gain. Tiger cubs bring in money, and keeping the hybrids as display animals and not having cubs born means less income, so let's kill them. Maybe that's not Magdeburg's point at all, but it lies underneath it all and it bugs my conscience.
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  #21
Old 01-05-2010

@jwer: Magdeburg Zoo might have been able to keep the tigers for a little while-but surely not forever. This is not a big zoo, and their space and financial ressources are limited.

I already mentioned the "escapes". Your generalizing assumption that there is no objective reason for euthanasia was the point I was referring to and disproved.

"Appropriate" = in accordance with national (Gutachten für Haltung exotischer Wildtiere) and international guidelines and laws (f.e. 1999/22/EG ). If no husbandry living up to this demands can be found, ...

Magdeburg Zoo followed the orders of the studbook coordinator. Maybe you should ask Peter Müller of Leipzig Zoo your provocative assumption of "freeing up space for pure-bloods" as the ultimate goal of the tiger EEP...

I think that all animals in a zoo should be treated fairly; that is also true for euthanasia. Don't you think that surplus (especially) male ungulates aren't also killed to "clear up space"?

To indicate that Magdeburg Zoo did this just for the sake of financial gain is an extremely malicious imputation. Do you really think that the zoo staff thought they would get profit (i.e. an increase of attendence figures) out of such a highly controversial decision? 'Cause I (and probably everyone in his right mind...) don't.

Last edited by Sun Wukong; 02-05-2010 at 04:30 PM..
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  #22
Old 01-05-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
@jwer: Magdeburg Zoo might have been able to keep the tigers for a little while-but surely not forever. This is not a big zoo, and their space and financial ressources are limited.
Allthough you make a fair point, we'll never really know wether or not Magdeburg could have kept these animals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
I already mentioned the "escapes". Your generalizing assumption that there is no objective reason for euthanasia was the point I was referring to and disproved.

"Appropriate" = in accordance with national (Gutachten für Haltung exotischer Wildtiere) and international guidelines and laws (f.e. 1999/22/EG ). If no husbandry living up to this demands can be found, ...
Why do you, and Magdeburg assume that no adequate husbandry can be found? According to Zootierliste there are 85 institutions in Europe that keep "generic" (or hybrid) tigers. To assume that there never will be a place somewhere seems a bit quick, after just a few days (hours?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
Magdeburg Zoo followed the orders of the studbook coordinator. Maybe you should ask Peter Müller of Leipzig Zoo your provocative assumption of "freeing up space for pure-bloods" as the ultimate goal of the tiger EEP...
If these were the orders of the studbook, Magdeburg should have replied "i'm sorry, that's against the law" and leave it at that. I never said "freeing up space for pure-bloods" is the ultimate goal of the tiger EEP, and i don't know how you concluded that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
To indicate that Magdeburg Zoo did this just for the sake of financial gain is an extremely malicious imputation. Do you really think that the zoo staff thought they would get profit (i.e. an increase of attendence figures) out of such a highly controversial decision? 'Cause I (and probably everyone in his right mind...) don't.
Woo, hold the phone, I never said that. The only thing I said is, that this decission seems to have a financial side-effect that is not unfavorable to Magdeburg because it gives them the opportinity to breed new cubs in the near future. I thought i made that out clear enough but apparantly not.

It is therefore, in my mind, VERY hard for Magdeburg to defend that this decission was made purely to help the species survive and it makes me feel uneasy. Decissions are always a lot easier when they allow you to make more money.
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  #23
Old 02-05-2010

@jwer: I'm sure said comission considered all apt options after long and careful consideration. 85 institutions doesn't mean that all of these institutions are apt-or that they have the means & space to keep the additional animals.
Magdeburg Zoo followed the orders. What can happen if you do not follow the orders can currently be observed in Dvůr Králové ...

Does

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwer View Post
(...) they think that freeing their space up for pure-blood animals is "better", and i beg to differ.
ring a bell? Didn't you therebye accuse this t be the goal of the EEP?

Same goes for

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwer View Post
This also would get me a lot less twitchy if there wasn't a clear financial advantage to Magdeburg Zoo. It somehow annoys me a hell of a lot more that animals are killed for financial gain. Tiger cubs bring in money, and keeping the hybrids as display animals and not having cubs born means less income, so let's kill them.
Didn't you write that? And the last sentence of your last post only underlines your statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwer View Post
Deci[s]sions are always a lot easier when they allow you to make more money.
That might only count for immoral individuals. Do you thus assume that the people involved at Magdeburg Zoo are immoral individuals? Wait let me pass you the phone to hold it for a while, @jwer.

So the bottom line jwer tries to get through is: Magdeburg Zoo killed the tiger cubs without much consideration & afterthought just to get more money via mass-producing cute tiger cubs, and only used the EEP as a fig leaf to conceal their greedy intentions.

>Irony on<
Sure, Magdeburg Zoo will get a lot of money and joy out of the negative press, the trials with the animal rights activists, the necessity to find a new Amur tiger male and to get rid of the old male, the stressed female and stressed staff who really love killing tiger cubs, just for the sake of making money. And the money keeps rolling in...>Irony off<

Just two personal questions, @jwer: 1) Ever worked in a modern zoo (and I don't mean as an extern for two days in the zoo cafeteria)? and 2) Ever been to Magdeburg Zoo?
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  #24
Old 02-05-2010

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Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
So the bottom line jwer tries to get through is: Magdeburg Zoo killed the tiger cubs without much consideration & afterthought just to get more money via mass-producing cute tiger cubs, and only used the EEP as a fig leaf to conceal their greedy intentions.
I never liked the way you conduct your discussions. You are aggressive, suggestive and interpret people's words either wrong, or in the most extreme. You also seem to have the idea that people that have worked in a zoo are the only people that can have an educated opinion about things.

Let me restate my opinions;

If you must know, i'm a CPA and have seen quite a few company's on the inside, both profit and non-profit. The financial reward of an accountant can never be dependent on the outcome of their work, because you can never claim to be impartial if the reward is higher when you state that the financial statements give a fair representation. Does that mean that every accountant wouldn't be fair if they had more money for a positive statement? No, it's just that you're 1-0 behind when a discussion rises so you never want to get there...

You can tell me what you want but;
- If Magdeburg tried everything to keep the animals themselves they could have been stuck with them for the next 20 years, without being able to breed tigers.
- Having young tigers earns money

All I'm saying, is that in this discussion they will be coming from behind. I am not saying that they "killed the tiger cubs without much consideration & afterthought", all i'm saying that if they want to defend themselves against such accusations then IMO they're in an almost impossible position.

Hopefully you'll get the idea, if this goes on i'll end up as the cause of WWII, for heavens sake.
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  #25
Old 02-05-2010

@jwer: My style of argumentation is not half as aggressive and suggestive as your wrongful allegation that Magdeburg Zoo euthanised their tiger cubs for the sake of financial gain.

Your argumentation only illustrates why a zoo background is important to fully grasp the matter at stake: basically, a zoo is a company - but it's also much more, thanks to the animals and the dedicated people involved. So accusing the staff of Magdeburg zoo just to have acted out of financial motives doesn't take the reality of zoo life into account. Indeed, I do think that people that have worked and/or work in a zoo are more likely to have an educated opinion about things related to zoos than mere onlookers-due to their training background & experience.
So my suggestion:
Cobbler, stick to thy last. I wouldn't dabble in account subjects, as I don't have the training, nor the experience you probably have. If I were to correct you on account work in both an amateurish and self-opinionated way, you wouldn't react too friendly either, would you?
I'm positive that the Magdeburg zoo staff acted after long consideration-and they certainly didn't take the easy way out.

WWII? Or rather, WWIII? And finally: so have you ever been to Magdeburg Zoo in person, @jwer?
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  #26
Old 02-05-2010

I only wish to make these 3 points:
A) Firstly, I did pointed out previously that several zoos do use euthanasia as a accepted method of restricting unwanted/surplus animals. You seem to have ignored that.
B) Secondly, I have re-read the press release by Zoo Magdeburg - which I somehow forgot to mention - and agree fully with Sun Wukong that Zoo Magdeburg's actions where on the advice of the studbook keeper recommendation.
C) Vis a vis the law; I do not really care much for the law on animal welfare or how this does seem to apply to exotics and not livestock. But then I do feel - sure it is personal opinion - that the EU agricultural policy as well as their conservation politics re. wildlife and habitat conservation STINK.

As I said before, I do not wish to be drawn further into this discussion as it is clear we have very oppossing views. Besides, I do not like one bit, the way some people see fit to cut up arguements into short sentences and then be argumentative and aggressive. I say live and let live please and respect another's opinion.
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  #27
Old 03-05-2010

As I said at the start of this thread "I am here to lend my support to Mr Kai Perret and the staff of Magdeburg Zoo in their quite reasonable decision to euthanase three generic tiger cubs."
I have watched the discussion with interest and an open mind. I am always willing to change if I see a reasonable argument. I remain convinced that the decision taken was the right one.
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  #28
Old 03-05-2010

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Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
Your argumentation only illustrates why a zoo background is important to fully grasp the matter at stake: basically, a zoo is a company - but it's also much more, thanks to the animals and the dedicated people involved. So accusing the staff of Magdeburg zoo just to have acted out of financial motives doesn't take the reality of zoo life into account. Indeed, I do think that people that have worked and/or work in a zoo are more likely to have an educated opinion about things related to zoos than mere onlookers-due to their training background & experience.
My job, as many others in this world, consist at least 90% of common sense. On almost any matter, I always welcome an objective point of view from any other person, no matter if they are educated on the subject or not. Most of the time, anyone with a common sense can bring a valid argument that you haven't thought of. It is, in my eyes, the essence of arrogance if you don't.

I'll try one more time before I give in... This thread is supposedly about defending the killing of three generic tigers by Mageburg Zoo towards allegations made by green-winged activist.

I'm usually on any Zoo's side, and would love to give the real green wingers a beating in the discusion BUT;
- If it's against the law, there is no discussion possible. I don't care how many studbook keepers gave an order. They are right.
- In this arguement, Zoo Magdeburg will always come from behind because there is a financial gain. That card can be played by green-winged activist and there's hardly any defence against it. If you don't see my point on this, then i'll give up.

I'll defend myself one more time in saying that i never accused Zoo Magdeburg of killing these tigers purely for financial gain, just that there position is weakened in the discussion, and I wouldn't like to be the one to defend them.
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  #29
Old 03-05-2010

@jwer: Well, I prefer an educated opinion over an uneducated one. Accusing a zoo of wrongdoing without knowing the real situation and background is no sign of common sense, but rather real arrogance.

Whether this decision really against German Tierschutzgesetz is among others a question of interpretation the courts have to find out. And once again: I doubt that the zoo will get any kind of financial gain out of all this. You as an account should know better...
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  #30
Old 08-05-2010

I don't think a decision to euthanize unwanted animals is necesarily wrong, my only problem is the pure blood-hybrid controversy. Is one % hybrid genes ( just an example) in an animal enough reason for justified euthanasia, especially when it can be phased out within a few generations? I still think this policy should be slightly altered, certainly when it's a difference only a human could possibly see.
 


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