Join our zoo community

The Good Zoo and Euthanasia

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Peter Dickinson, 4 Nov 2010.

  1. Peter Dickinson

    Peter Dickinson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    263
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat
    I am only too aware that many people do not agree with me on the subject of euthanasia. Others prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand and not even think about it at all. I wrote the following article in answer to questions I have been asked and outline my thoughts on the matter:
    The Good Zoo and Euthanasia
    Zoo News Digest: The Good Zoo and Euthanasia
     
  2. safariman

    safariman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2008
    Posts:
    72
    Location:
    Netherlands, Tilburg
    Good article.. I agree with your thoughts!!
     
  3. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    1,843
    Location:
    Australia
    Hi Peter,

    A very interesting topic and article.

    You dont specifically mention Euthanasia by gender, any specific reason?

    Quote
    If the young are surplus to the overall population either in terms of numbers or over represented genes then they should be euthanized.
    Quote
     
  4. Devi

    Devi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2009
    Posts:
    435
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    It never ceases to shock me that people can love zoos but not care about animals.
    Why would we bother keeping alive species that clearly should be destroyed by evolution, like pandas or Siberian tigers except for sentimental reasons? And on that basis we have no right to deny life to animals who manage to survive without assistance.
    Breeding controls should be in place in over represented species, it's cruel and pointless to breed animal after animal and then euthanise on birth. After all, that isn't how we run our own species so why should we run others this way?
     
  5. reduakari

    reduakari Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Mar 2008
    Posts:
    1,013
    Location:
    berkeley california USA
    Possibly the most ignorant statement ever posted on this site--and there is plenty of competition in that category.

    Because inexorable human destruction of the environment has affected these two species more quickly than some others, "evolution" is taking its natural course??????

    Please.....
     
  6. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    813
    Location:
    Worldwide
    Reduakari's way of putting things often means that I find it hard to fully agree, but this time I do. I have nothing more to add.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    26,909
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I was about to post pretty much exactly what reduakari already had. I can only hope that Devi is a child and not an adult to have come out with a preposterous statement as s/he did!
     
  8. Devi

    Devi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2009
    Posts:
    435
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Evolution is the adaptation of a species through successive generations to survive in their environment. This includes competition, i.e. human influence.
    The animals at the brink of extinction are kept alive by humans, not by their own adaptations.
    My point, since you clearly aren't reading, is that the reason we keep these animals alive is not for environmental reasons, since we aren't releasing anything, or working on improving their wild habitat, but rather because we sentimentally regard these animals as special, while dozens of other animals are becoming or have become extinct.
    I have no problem with this btw, I like a fluffy panda as much as anyone.

    But going back to euthanasia, I find it absurd that people can discuss euthanasia of surplus animals as good practice yet we put massive amounts of resources into keeping others alive. This is not a business exercise or a conservation one, it's an exercise in convenience. If it's inconvenient to have surplus animals then it's your duty to control breeding. Each of those animals is an individual with its own right to life and if we don't care about the individual animals then why do we care about populations as a whole?
    After all the animal that has the most surplus is the human race and we don't go about killing babies do we?
     
  9. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    813
    Location:
    Worldwide
    Natural evolution is what happens in nature with natural things.

    I hope that you don't consider the human kind with its weapons of mass destruction, machine guns, bulldozers, oil drilling, forest logging and all else being used to destroy our planet the same as when one animal population naturally existing in a given area whiping out another one (say, lynx and hares)?
     
  10. Devi

    Devi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2009
    Posts:
    435
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    It's not up to me to consider anything, it's a fact, the world now is different to the one even a hundred years ago. Humans are as natural as anything else, just animals, highly adaptable primates who are ridiculously destructive, but not artificial by any means.
    I would rather that wasn't the way, but it is.
     
  11. Monty

    Monty Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    915
    Location:
    Finley NSW
    That is a good article which gets away from sentimentality which often has negative effects on the whole population.

    Part I disagree with is
    The cows will just go for human consumption instead and I don't think it has anything to do with one animals life being worth more than the other.
    The main reason I think that surplus tiger should be killed, is when the zoo which keeps it is unable to have more animals in the breding population due them having less room, and not enough funds to feed more animals due to that surplus animal.

    No animals life is worth more than the sustainability of the whole population. Populations must be kept breeding to ensure there are sufficient young animals of diverse genetics in the future. If this leads to animals needing to be killed, so be it, and I am certain their deaths will be much more humane than in the wild.
     
  12. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    1,457
    Location:
    Groningen, Netherlands
    I think I've debated this before, but i don't mind doing it again. I'll step over some of the side-steps you've added (allthough I'm on your side with the white tiger debate, i wouldn't call all zoos that breed them "less reputable").

    I'll also step past Devi's weird remarks, how species need to "evolve" within 2/3 generations or else die out!? You can't expect a species to evolve that fast.

    So let's focus on the main topic at hand. First of all, I believe that taking in animals gives you the responsability to care for these animals to the best of your ability. In my mind, as soon as individual animals enter your gate the primary responsability rests with the individuals at hand. That does not mean you let animals enter lightly, but you need to highly consider which individuals are taken in, consulting with a breeding programme coördinator.

    Taking in animals also include animal births. In my mind, you do not breed animals unless you know you can either hold them yourself, or are able to place them in another zoo. There are enough ways to keep animal populations in control. If contraception is detrimental to a female's reproduction in the future, then why not keep them away from males? For many species you always have the option to give them a contraceptive for a few years, then let them have one birth, and then give them a contraception again for a few years. That way you should be able to have enough room for offspring, without having to kill surplus.

    The situation you created gives all the power to the coördinator. Besides the fact that for some species it is unlikely that a zoo is willing to ship them off for free (like a zoo that just bought a few white rhinos in south-africa), let's say this is a possibility. Wouldn't that give the power to the Asian Elephant EEP coördinator to say; "kill your elderly females please, we need to place a few young bulls and your facility can also hold young bulls" and the zoo should do that for the greater good?

    Does it also mean that a zoo can't "retire" an elderly tiger? An excellent breeder, that has been a magnificent zoo animal all her life and has bred quite a few youngsters should then, in the situation you created, be authenised because she is no longer contributing to the species survival and holding up space. I don't like it.

    Another con;
    Who decides what animal is surplus? Is it just the species coördinator, is it the whole TAG, is it a majority of the TAG? Is there any control over a species coördinator, what if he/she makes a mistake? It seems that the decission can be taken quite lightly.

    And I would like to add;
    Authanasia is by everyone considered to being a fix to a problem. The problem is that there isn't enough space in zoos to keep many species alive. But shouldn't we look at all those zoos that do not participate, that keep and breed animals without considering the greater good of the species. Everything seems to go wrong because people that run zoos don't consider what animals to take in, and generally make a mess. Wouldn't the solution lie in creating stricter European rules to force these zoos to make decent decissions. Perhaps force them to join EAZA and create an European animal police? Create stricter permits to have a zoo (and enforce them)?

    Anyways, it feels that this response has become a bit of a mess, but i guess people can get the greater picture. In my mind, Zoos are primeraly responsible for the individuals they hold, and should strictly consider what to take in before they do.