Ban All Unnecessary Zoo Animal Euthanizations

Ban Killing Zoo Animals

Target: Dr Lesley Dickie, Executive Director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

Goal: Require all member zoos to immediately stop all unnecessary zoo animal euthanizations

The story of Marius, the two-year-old giraffe recently killed by the Copenhagen zoo, made headlines, but Marius is not the only victim of European zoos. Although exact numbers are difficult to determine, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria estimates that over 1,700 animals are killed every year. While sometimes zoo animals suffer terminal illnesses or injuries, the majority of these animals do not need to be euthanized.

There are many different reasons that animals are killed by the zoos, although most of them are flimsy excuses to justify this barbaric practice. For example, in Marius’s case, other zoos offered to rehome him, but the Copenhagen zoo refused to consider that option.

Sometimes zoos kill animals because of lack of space. Zoo animals should never be killed for this reason. If the breeding programs at these zoos fail to accurately predict the number of baby animals being added to the zoo, then zoo officials need to make it their number one priority to find alternative housing options for surplus animals, such as lending an animal to another zoo, either temporarily or permanently. It is true that lack of space is a problem, but it is a completely preventable problem and should never be used to justify killing healthy animals, especially not at the rate of over 1,700 a year.

Recent victims of European zoos include five giraffes, one bear, one lynx, one ibex, and numerous red river hogs, antelopes, capybaras, llamas, goats, and more. Demand that European zoos stop the barbaric practice of unnecessarily euthanizing up to 1,700 animals a year.


Dear Dr. Lesley Dickie,

As the Executive Director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria you oversee the 347 zoos spread across 41 European countries that make up your organization. Every year, these 347 zoos collectively kill over 1,700 animals–often for reasons as simple and easy to fix as simply not having enough space.

You need to put a stop to this. The purpose of your organization is to promote the conservation of animals and having your member zoos perform almost 2,000 unnecessary euthanizations on zoo animals every year is not in line with this mission.

Animals euthanized because zoos lack space is unacceptable. There are hundreds of zoos networked across the globe — what one zoo lacks in terms of resources or physical space, another zoo can and will often happily provide, especially if it means saving a young, healthy animal from having to be killed.

It is absolutely critical that you figure out a way to put a stop to this awful practice immediately. You cannot afford to wait. Over 1,700 animals a year are counting on you. Please do your job. Please ban unnecessary euthanizations of zoo animals immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Cacophony via Wikimedia

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  1. Stop breeding animals would be a start. Sad how zoos only care about profits.

  2. Jane Davidson says:

    These so called zoos are death camps for these innocent hapless animals.

  3. I never liked zoos anyway. The animals are stressed, you can tell with elephants the way they sway back and forth. It’s not natural.The zoos need to find an alternative to killing,an animal habitat, like the one in Tennessee(elephants) or the one in California(for big cats).
    The Hindu’s believe you will be reincarnated as an animal,we need to respect them as one of us.

  4. Emily March says:

    Denmark is a EU member and OUGHT NOT to be allowed such abuse. The entire country is turning in a horror chamber for animals, in one way or another… – Abide by EU laws in the field please; not simply your own.

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