Visitors to Norway’s Kristiansand Dyrepark zoo were confronted with a macabre sight last week: the beheaded body of a zebra was left in an enclosure.
According to NRK, the zebra’s body was left for tigers to tear apart and done so in public to “educate” visitors.
The scene has caused shocked people to post on social media, with many concerned about how seeing a headless zebra torn to pieces would affect children. The incident is reminiscent of what happened to Marius, the 18-month-old giraffe who was killed by the Copenhagen Zoo and fed to lions in 2014, causing outrage worldwide.
It’s common for zoos to kill healthy animals when they have too many. Between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy “surplus” animals are killed each year by European zoos alone. Breeding programmes serve no true conservation purpose because zebras and other animals born in zoos are rarely, if ever, returned to their natural habitats. They are often treated as mere baby-makers and visitor attractions in zoos’ “swap-and-shop” programmes, which give the public a false sense that something meaningful has happened.
The argument that zoos are educational doesn’t cut it, either. Seeing bored, depressed and often insane animals pacing, swaying or circling constantly teaches children nothing about normal animal behavior – we certainly wouldn’t take our children to a prison in order to teach them about human behavior. They can learn far more valuable and inspiring lessons by watching nature documentaries that show wild animals where they belong, going on virtual field trips or watching IMAX movies that feature animals filmed in the wild.
PETA urges everyone who genuinely cares about zebras and all the other individuals serving life sentences in zoos to avoid patronizing such “attractions” and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.