19 June 2024

Comparing cultural differences in attitudes to killing animals

Giraff in Copenhagen Zoo
📷 168389161 © Oliver Foerstner | Dreamstime.com

Loeb, J. (2024) 
Vet Record, p. 458


(Peter Sandøe interviewed by Josh Loeb for the Vet Record)

‘I remember I did a talk for about 150 vet students in Denmark, where I teach at the vet school, and I asked them what they thought about the Marius case, mentioning why the zoo did it – that they couldn’t find a proper home for him, that he was surplus and that he, if he stayed, would be bullied by the other male giraffes in the herd. The Danish vet students thought that it was fine to kill him and feed him to the lions.’

‘A few weeks later I went to Barcelona for a big conference for vet students about zoos. I asked exactly the same question. There were around 300 vet students in the audience, and none thought it was a good idea.’ He added: ‘We, or most of us, in Denmark are completely Nordic noir. It’s a case of “Yeah, that’s what we do: we kill giraffes, and as long as we do it well, what is then the issue?”’

Read the full short article (one page): Comparing cultural attitudes to euthanasia (pdf)