The Copenhagen Zoo must answer

The Copenhagen zoo strikes again. Apart from the fact that I find this appalling, I also cannot share the justification that would support these murders.

Let us leave deontology aside for a moment and think utilitarian.

Let us say they had no other option than to take in the young newcomer. And let us say it was certain that he would kill all the others. Well, if that is the case, then why not try to save all the others by killing the young newcomer?
Gene variation they might answer. They want the females to reproduce again with someone else, and this would be anyway the natural process, “natural selection”. But how do they know that the other individuals were not better “equipped” in terms of genes? “Natural selection” knows best, they will argue. As if it is the absolute, it is the just, it gives us the best of possible worlds: Let us not intervene in natural selection. But wait a minute: isn’t the introduction of the new male lion in the zoo a decision made by humans in the first place? An intervention? How “natural” can all of this be? The humans had a choice to make. They killed 4 lions!

PS: Is it not the case that the Copenhagen zoo administration is deciding exactly what natural selection is and will do? Something which is inconsistent with the essence of natural selection itself?
PS2: So what will happen if -say- this new male lion behaves “unnaturally” and kills the remaining two females, instead of reproducing with them?
PS3: What if he proves impotent?

A zoo in Denmark that provoked outrage after putting down a healthy giraffe has killed a family of four lions to make way for a new young male lion.

Copenhagen Zoo says it “had to euthanise” two cubs and their parents after it failed to re-home them.

The 16-year-old male and 14-year-old female were nearing the end of their natural lives in captivity, it added.

Last month, the zoo killed a healthy giraffe because it was deemed surplus to requirements.

“Because of the pride of lions’ natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves,” the zoo said in a statement.

According to zookeepers, the male cub “would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance.”

The zoo said it had asked other parks to take the 10-month-old cubs, but had received no offers.

The new male lion is due to arrive in the next few days and will be introduced to the zoo’s two female lions who, born in 2012, have reached breeding age. (BBC website)


About Christos Hadjioannou
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2 Responses to The Copenhagen Zoo must answer

  1. gamanrad says:

    At the very least, this is appallingly bad planning. I’m not sure that the arguments to do with natural selection wash at all = there’s nothing natural, if that means evolutionarily consistent with environmental and genetic pressures that bring about natural selection – unless, of course, human intervention is ‘natural’. In a sense, of course, human intervention is natural, if humans are evolved along with everything else. However, humans have a unique capacity: the capacity to draw their self conscious, self aware attention to the activities they are involved in. I’ve been arguing long and hard that herein lies our agency. If we fail to pay attention to the impact of our actions, we have not exercised the only agency we have. If we do not exercise our agency in this narrow sense, we create the sorts of catastrophic levels of exploitation, violence, destruction and suffering that this situation epitomises. It takes an effort of focus to consider the conditions we’re involved in, whether as zoo keepers or in our private relationships. But if we take the job of zoo keeper, we also take with it an understanding that we will focus our attention on the web of relationships involved in zoos. I’m not mad about zoos but until we decide to actively pay attention to creating space for other large mammals, predators and other creatures we keep in zoos, they at least serve the purpose of keeping some examples of those species alive. However, this kind of incompetence is deeply depressing. I don’t know if there is more one can do: write a letter to the zoo expressing one’s horror? You might, perhaps, have some ideas.

  2. Just found this:
    The Danish Zoo accepts that they are running a programme of EUGENICS, and defend it. Listen to this. They explicitly say it in the very beginning of the programme.

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