According to EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums) between 3000 and 5000 animals are euthanized each year in the zoos in Europe. This apparently is for the interest of good management of different species. In other words, there is nothing wrong with theses animals that are being put down.
There was outrage and many reactions on the internet after news broke that a young giraffe was euthanized in February. The director of EAZA, Lesley Dickie, has however mentioned that this is not an unusual act. This practice affects all species from those as small as tadpoles to those as large as giraffes or elephants.
The figures are alarming as there is nothing wrong with the animals to begin with; they are not ill or in pain. Between 2000 and 2012, 22 zebras, 4 hippos and five giraffes were euthanized. These animals are killed due to inbreeding, but this is because they are kept in captivity and there are no other animals around to breed with. They have no choice in the matter.
The president of EAZA, Simon Tonge, says that many zoos choose to euthanize the animals because it is a good method for controlling the population of a species. In some cases the zoos choose contraception or castration as there is limited space in zoos.
The EAZA represents more than 340 establishments and 48 zoos in the United Kingdom alone. Lesley Dickie highlights that the association has helped save several species in captivity that no longer exist in the wild. An example is the lion tamarin, a small primate from Latin America.
While zoos do a lot of good for the animals, it does not outshine the bad things that happen. Do you agree with the euthanasia of animals in zoos to control the species?