Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

European Zoos + Dead Animals = Profits!

Looking for a tiger skin? How about a stuffed cheetah? Well, now you don't have to rely on those sleazy poachers, because sleazy zoos are selling them as well.

Some zoos in Europe will sell the dead animals to taxidermists, so they can make money. These are animals that have either died naturally, or were killed do to lack of space. From the article:

Many animals are killed, well before the natural end of their lifespans, simply because the zoos no longer have room for them. Then the bodies are sold, or given, to Gerard who, together with Brandwood and other taxidermists to whom he subcontracts, charges customers thousands of pounds for the privilege of “bringing them back to life”.

In halting English Gerard explained to the “clients” how his relationship with the zoos worked: “When animals die the veterinarian call me – ‘Jean Pierre come because we have an accident or a death’ or ‘it is necessary to shoot this animal because we have too much’.

I suppose an argument could be made that the money the zoos make could be used to help the other animals, but frankly, I think this is just wrong. The Chinese have been active in setting up tiger breeding programs specifically to sell their body parts. Does Europe support this? And if not, how is this any different? The Chinese can always slap a "zoo" sign on their tiger farms and give tours.

The reason zoos get around this is due to Article 10 in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). This allows governments to issue exemptions allowing the sale of captive bred animal parts. Britain is very strict about issuing these certificates, but other governments (Belgium for one) are much less inhibited. I would hope this article will spur some sort of reforms to halt this practice.

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