Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Crazy German animal rights activists

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is Knut.

He's a three-month old polar bear cub at a zoo in Berlin. His mother rejected him and he's been raised by hand by a zookeeper. (See Der Spiegel for more, including a photo gallery.)

He is extraordinarily popular. And yet some want him dead. Who?

Various animal rights activists who think that "[r]aising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws," to quote one of them. The director of another German zoo, in Aachen, even argued that it isn't "appropriate for the species that the little polar bear is being raised on a bottle".

Huh? What?

I know, that was my reaction, too. Apparently this is rather common practice: killing baby zoo animals who for whatever reason cannot fend for themselves.

But come on. How insane is that?

Surely the humane treatment of one member of a species doesn't enganger the entire species. And surely there is some other solution to the "problem" than animal infanticide. Surely it should be in the realm of "animal welfare laws" for humans to take care of animals who have been rejected by their mothers or who otherwise find themselves alone. Surely an animal like Knut is precisely what the animal rights movement needs to attract widepread public attention to the welfare of animals.

And given all the animal abuse out there in the world, all the real abuse that should concern animal rights activists, why focus on poor Knut?

Let him live. Celebrate him. And do your part in safeguarding the welfare of animals.

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