February 2014: The Born Free Foundation has expressed dismay at reports that, following on from the killing on February 9 of a healthy 18-month-old giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo, another male giraffe in Jyllands Park Zoo in Denmark is on ‘death row’. Both giraffes were considered to be unsuitable for breeding because their genes are what is said to be ‘over-represented’ in European zoos.
According to the Foundation, slaughtering healthy zoo animals for convenience is irresponsible and indefensible and it is calling on the European Zoo community to take responsibility for ensuring that no animal is unnecessarily killed. It is also urging European politicians to address euthanasia in zoos, which are legally required to protect the animals in their care. According to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, zoos kill healthy animals to make way for more desired animals in their collections.
The Copenhagen Zoo authorities said that captive animals are being bred from too narrow a gene pool, leading to bone and joint weakness, susceptibility to disease and mental problems. Daniel Turner, captivity spokesperson for Born Free said, “The Zoo Community shamelessly ask the public to accept their alleged conservation and animal protection agenda, yet they continue to breed animals irresponsibly and now seem to kill them without exhausting all placement options. Unfortunately, the killing of giraffe in zoos in Denmark is only the tip of the iceberg, as zoos in the UK and elsewhere also use euthanasia to manage their animal collections.”
Lars Thomas points out that this story is very misleading: "Before anybody gets too excited - this giraffe is NOT going to be put down. It was an answer to a hypotetical question that a reporter ran with, without actually stopping to think for a second. What the zoo actually said was, that IF they were to receive a female giraffe (they only have males at the moment), then they would have had to put one of their males down, if they couldn't find anywhere to put it."