A Copenhagen zoo is receiving criticism from the public after euthanizing four healthy lions. The zoo said that it plans on introducing a new male lion to the pride and chose to euthanize the lions because they were either too young or too old to defend themselves from the new lion and would have been killed.
"Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behavior, the zoo has had to euthanize the two old lions and two young lions that were not old enough to fend for themselves," Copenhagen Zoo said in a statement.
The zoo claimed that they first tried to find a home for the lions but were unable to do so. The lions were euthanized on Monday.
Just last month, the same zoo euthanized a healthy giraffe to prevent inbreeding. Not only was the animal euthanized, but also publicly dissected and then fed to the lions. Although the zoo received a huge public backlash over the incident, it has clearly not dissuaded them from euthanizing other healthy animals.
"Marius hasn't made us the least bit afraid, because what we are doing is the most correct thing to do," Steffen Stræde, the zoo's chief said in an interview.
The zoo reportedly euthanizes between 20 and 30 animals each year for various reasons, but does not dissect them all publicly. In the United States, zoos use contraceptive methods to prevent animals from inbreeding and often trade animals to avoid overpopulation and resolve behavior issues.
There are no laws that say the Copenhagen zoo cannot euthanize the animals if they feel that they need to and they will likely continue to do so in the future, regardless of how the public feels about it.
Do you think the zoo should be allowed to euthanize healthy animals?
Image via Wikimedia Commons