GRAPHIC VIDEO: Why Arguments For Killing Of Giraffe Marius Don’t Stand Up To Scrutiny

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“WTF…they didn’t have to kill  him, Marius was offered various homes & even a business man was willing to pay thousands to save the giraffe! It seems it’s rules for one & rules for another in the EAZA operation! If they can’t or don’t want an animal that doesn’t fit their requirements, they should have a system in place whereby the un-wanted animal can always be offered an alternative home; if they can’t manage that…then perhaps they shouldn’t be breeding animals at all!!

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Editor’s note: Liz Tyson is Director of UK charity, The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS). She previously lived and worked in the Colombian Amazon on conservation projects. She is a board member of conservation charity Neotropical Primate Conservation and a doctoral researcher at the University of Essex, School of Law. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely hers.

Liz Tyson

(CNN) — The killing of a young giraffe named Marius at Copenhagen Zoo sparked international outrage this weekend. On Sunday, he was shot with a bolt gun then publicly dissected before being fed to the lions.

In its defence, the zoo has argued that Marius’ death was necessary to protect the genetic diversity of his species. It was claimed that to allow Marius to take up space that could be used to house another animal with more desirable genetic make-up may hinder conservation breeding programs.

Contraception which required sedation is dangerous and giraffes might die during the procedure. As such, Marius’ birth could not have been safely prevented. Marius could not be re-homed because sending him somewhere other than a zoo which was a member of the European Association for Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) could result in him being sold into a circus, which would be against EAZA rules. In effect, the zoo’s hands were tied, it was implied.

None of these arguments appear to stand up to scrutiny.

As the head of the European endangered species program for giraffes stated in press, Marius was not from a rare sub-species.

Given that zoos claim that animals are kept in order to support the conservation of threatened species, it is therefore unclear why any member of Marius’ subspecies should be held captive at all.

Zoo staff get death threats

It was further confirmed that a contraceptive for giraffes has been developed in the last few years which allows females to be safely injected at a distance thus suggesting that Marius’ birth was not inevitable.

The director of EAZA supported the stance that Marius had to die and encouraged people to consider the “bigger picture.” But EAZA itself is less than consistent in its approach to inbreeding and, indeed, in its concern for the ultimate fate of animals in its member zoos.

EAZA and similar zoo bodies discourage member zoos from deliberately breeding white lions; a practice which is recognized as involving inbreeding in order to perpetuate the unusual white colouring of the animals involved.

Due to the serious welfare implications and the lack of conservation value of inbred animals, breeding of white lions is theoretically not allowed in EAZA zoos. In practice, both West Midland Safari Park and Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK breed white lions.

Both are EAZA members and yet, despite vociferously supporting the killing of Marius to prevent the same problem, a blind eye has been turned by EAZA to the persistent inbreeding of other species in its zoos. White lions are, perhaps tellingly, a great crowd pleaser.

In 2012 West Midland Safari Park were revealed to have sent four white lions to a circus trainer, who sent them on to a Japanese circus. That the safari park remains an EAZA member means that the rules on sending animals to non-EAZA collections are not consistently applied. Despite this, no exception was made for Marius.

In fact, rather than Marius being a tragic exception, the killing of animals considered to be surplus to requirements by zoos is something which is common in the industry. A 2003 study suggested that there are around 7,500 animals deemed “surplus” in European zoos at any one time.

Whilst it cannot be undone, Marius’ death has served an important purpose in shining a spotlight on a practice which is normally kept well-hidden from public view. As long as there are zoos, there will be unwanted animals. And as long as there are unwanted animals, more like Marius will be killed.

It has long been recognised that conservation success is achieved not in city centre zoos or safari parks, but in natural habitats. We would urge anyone with a passion for conservation to support effective in situ efforts which are truly making a positive impact on species conservation.

Viewer Discrestion Advised – Danish Zoo criticized for killing giraffe

Published on 10 Feb 2014

CNN’s Fred Pleitgen on why thousands are angry after a zoo in Copenhagen culled a healthy giraffe.

READ: Why Copenhagen zoo was right to cull giraffe

READ: Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions

READ: Marius the giraffe: Copenhagen zoo staff get death threats

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Born Free calls on Government to Accelerate the Final Curtain

The Government’s statement on the Defra website declares that “wild animals will no longer be made to perform in travelling circuses” and that it is seeking “to introduce primary legislation at the earliest opportunity”.

On the surface this is good news.

However, despite Animal Welfare Minister Lord Taylor stating (01/03/2012) that “There is no place in today’s society for wild animals being used for our entertainment in travelling circuses”, there will clearly have to be a place for them in travelling circuses for some considerable time to come because the Government claims measures to bring about a ban will require Primary Legislation – a process they predict could take several more years.

So, in the meantime, according to the Government, wild animals in circuses will benefit from a Circus Licensing Scheme to ensure “decent conditions”.

What are we to make of all this?

Firstly, the Government’s protestations that it has supported the notion of a ban have a rather hollow ring.  Animal protection organisations such as the Born Free Foundation, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society and the RSPCA have, since 2005, consistently called on the previous administration, and now the Coalition Government, to bring about a ban. Those requests have largely been side-lined until now.

via Government to Ban the Use of Wild Animals in Circuses: Right Decision – Wrong Timetable.

Categories: Big Cats Campaign News,

Great British Circus tiger (c)  BFF

Press reports circulating today indicate that the Government are preparing to announce a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. The Born Free Foundation, together with a number of other animal protection organisations including the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Association and ADI have long campaigned for such a ban which has overwhelming public and Parliamentary backing.

However, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, commented: “We are being very cautious. Until we see the details of the proposed ban and the timetable for its implementation we are only raising half a glass. The Government still seem determined to press ahead with a licensing system, claiming that this will be a quick, temporary measure to safeguard the welfare of wild animals in circuses. From what I have seen they suggest that a full ban will not come into force for two or more years due to Parliamentary time constraints. That means wild animals in travelling circuses could be on the road until 2014 or later. If that’s the case then we will be seeking the widest possible support for an accelerated process to make sure the ban is introduced at the earliest opportunity to end, once and for all, this unacceptable form of animal exploitation.”

The issue of banning the use of certain species of wild animals in travelling circuses was first promulgated by the then Minister Ben Bradshaw MP in 2006. The fact that it may happen in 2014 or 2015 is not something of which our elected representatives should be proud.

Leading Parliamentary campaigner Mark Pritchard MP is also reported to be sceptical: “Any licensing scheme should also guarantee that no new wild animals are imported into UK circuses. Quite frankly I don’t believe the Government when they say they will move towards a ban. I don’t trust Number 10 on the issue. I will believe it when I see it. But I am not holding my breath. Time will tell if I am right.”

Circus becomes animal-free! | CAPS

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Circus becomes animal-free! | CAPS.

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) is very pleased to find that, having made a return to using horses in their act last season, Paulo’s Circus Americano (Paulo’s) have decided to declare themselves an ‘All- Human Extravaganza’ for 2012.

We would like to thank Paulo’s for their decision and wish the outfit a very successful (all-human) circus season.

This positive move by the circus is encouraging, but this year we ask for your continued support as there are still seven other circuses using animals in their shows. The circuses to look out for this year are:

Bobby Roberts Super Circus

Circus Mondao

Circus Tyanna

Gifford’s Circus

Peter Jolly’s Circus

The Great British Circus

Zippos Circus

For more information, if you have any updates or concerns about a circus with animals near you or you would like to find out more about getting involved in our campaigns, please get in touch:

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