Art x Nature.Andy Goldsworthy
More Illustrations by Sveta Dorosheva
horse chestnut, blue spruce, english holly, southern magnolia
alright so I’m just going to make this an original post because this is really pissing me off right now especially because no one is flipping out over the zoo in indonesia that just lost many many animals (tigers lions goats giraffes and birds and everything else oh my) to stupid accidents & neglect & i’ve been talking about this all day and i’m tired of it
time for another round of lex talks zoo politics
we all know i have a lot of feelings about zoos, especially those that belong to WAZA (world association of zoos and aquariums) because i greatly respect the organization for its ethics, conservation efforts, and rescue efforts from zoos not properly equipped to handle animals.
it’s important to understand why, exactly, this happened. was it ideal? no, not at all. do i agree with the decision? rationally & reluctantly, yes, because it makes the most ethical sense. this is what we call a necessary evil. i’ll explain:
- first off, I’ll go ahead and make it clear that said giraffe was anesthetized and then put down with a bolt gun, and i am 99% certain this part didn’t take place in front of the public
- why bolt gun? because it makes sense. not just because it saves the meat to be used to feed carnivores later (which is very respectable, by the way. you kill it you use it. that’s the rules), but because it’s the most humane. you don’t want to give an animal that weighs a metric fuckton and has a massive heart and a long neck a lethal injection. too much margin for error. there’s a reason most equine/farm vets carry a bolt gun or .22 revolver: sometimes things go horribly, horribly wrong and you’ve got an animal that’s still alive after 45 minutes and you need to do something.
- the animal was then dissected in front of visitors whom i’m assuming were informed that this was going to happen, and most of them probably learned at least one thing. cool.
- the EAZA (european association of zoos and aquaria) is part of WAZA (formerly mentioned), and thus abides by a certain code of ethics. one of these rules is that animals may not be sold to outside parties, because the goal of EAZA/WAZA is to promote education and conservation. if members were allowed to sell to outside parties, most likely private menageries, not only are would that give members financial incentives, but it would also allow release of an animal into an environment that is not necessarily ideal (at all). the WAZA already rescues many animals from private collections. why the fuck would they sell back into them.
- giraffes are both extremely hard to take care of, and herd animals. private collectors would most likely keep the animal by itself, which is incredibly cruel. who has the space or want for more than one giraffe. two, tops? pretty much no one, especially not facilities that aren’t a part of WAZA.
- contraceptives or “fixing” of animals is not practiced because it disrupts an animal’s natural way of living; not to mention that it causes all kinds of hormonal issues that would need to be balanced out. in essence, it is not kind to the animal.
- which is why herd overpopulation sometimes becomes a thing. essentially, should the giraffe be allowed to continue living in the exhibit, inbreeding would have occurred. and it is both cruel and extremely expensive to isolate the giraffe on its own.
- the EAZA, as discussed above, did not have a breeding program that would accept this giraffe, because it would cause inbreeding. could another program under WAZA have taken the animal? maybe. but that would have required shipping the animal across the atlantic ocean, which is both expensive (giraffes are very tall and very weirdly shaped!) and extremely cruel to the animal. giraffes also like to go into cardiac arrest when stressed, ie: being on a boat, etc. their brain is very very uphill from their heart it causes problems.
- giraffes are not endangered. the zoo also saved a lot of money by using the giraffe as food for other animals; a positive side-effect as that means more money for animal upkeep and education programs and the like.
- does your local zoo euthanize cute animals when theyre all grown up and not cute anymore? NO. calm down. take a breath. herd overpopulation is a very difficult thing to deal with; this happens domestically with deer and some wild (read: feral) horse herds. while many animals are taken/culled because of overpopulation that would have ended in starvation, animals are also culled/taken to disallow inbreeding and the entire program goes to genetic hell in a few generations. hybrid vigor is an important thing. if we’re talking conservation, it’s the most important thing.
if WAZA/EAZA/AZA is about conservation, why wasn’t the giraffe released back into the wild?
- like the statement from the copenhagen zoo states, they abide by the rules of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which prohibits “freeing” of animals unless it is certain they will survive.
- giraffes are herd animals. it is excruciatingly difficult and expensive to introduce a grown animal to a new herd. can’t place the animal with a herd? BAM. carnivore prey in less than a day. again, cruel and unethical.
- i have a lot of feelings about “liberating” animals from zoos. by which i mean zoos that are a part of WAZA. my feelings are as follows: dont. do not. why?
- because these zoos are the ones who take animals from helldeath concrete pit zoos. the bad zoos. like the Death Zoo you’ve seen in the news. where do you think those animals go? they go to these places.
- it was a necessary evil.
- please, please do not boycott the copenhagen zoo. i imagine americans might have a difficult time boycotting in the first place since we essentially already have by means of geographic distance. but visiting (accredited!) zoos is great! you learn a bunch of stuff and your money goes towards research and conservation and care of the animals. and conservation includes rescuing other animals from HellDeath zoos. cool, huh?
- i’m not going to launch into a “one for the good of many” speech here because i refuse to open a discussion on utilitarianism
- if you learned something and would like to share this post with your friends/followers, by all means go ahead. i’d really appreciate it.
- my askbox is here and it’s open if you have any questions or want to yell at me and tell me to jump in a ditch or want to learn more or to tell me that i’m the literal scum of the earth. go for it. and if you wanna see bad zoos, i will show you bad zoos.
bonus! get upset over things like this:
surabaya zoo goes to all hell, dubbed zoo of death, WAZA flipping the fuck out (ps a giraffe here died because it had somehow ingested 44lbs of plastic. pick your fucking poison)
Black and White Animal Photographs by Lukas Holas