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Animal-rights activists want cub killed

Posted by Richard on March 21, 2007

Back in 1994 at the Denver Zoo, a polar bear named Ulu gave birth to twins and promptly rejected them. The cubs were rescued by a zookeeper, put in incubators, and fed with eyedroppers. Klondike and SnowNamed Klondike and Snow, they were the first polar bears successfully hand-raised by humans. People around here went nuts over the adorable little critters, which were a marketer's dream. They gained national attention (including a PBS special), were celebrated in a video and a book, and made the zoo a boat-load of money. When the bears approached adulthood, due to space constraints (and perhaps loss of cuddliness), they were sent to Sea World, a move that caused great consternation locally, complete with petitions and protests.

I remember all the hype, adoration, and frenzy over Klondike and Snow. I don't remember anyone calling for them to be put to death. Not even animal-rights activists. 

Times have changed. Animal-rights activists today would rather see a polar bear die than be raised by humans. In Germany, some say Berlin zookeepers are violating animal-welfare laws by not killing little Knut:

Everyone loves Knut. The three-month-old polar bear born in one of Berlin's zoos has become a star in the German capital and has won hearts the world over. Indeed, the exact date of his first public appearance — likely to be made later this week — is the subject of almost as much anticipation as the details of Britney Spears Alcoholics Anonymous love affair. It's impossible not to love the little guy, right?

Well, not quite. Animal rights activists, as SPIEGEL reported Monday, aren't so enthralled with the polar bear baby. They are concerned that Knut, who is being raised by human hand after his mother rejected him, is in danger of losing touch with the bear necessities. Some would like to see him dead.

"Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws," animal rights activist Frank Albrecht told the mass circulation newspaper Bild, whose front page headline Monday read "Will Sweet Knut Be Killed by Injection?"

Berlin Zoo is allowing Knut to be raised in such a way that the bear will have a behavioral disorder for the rest of his life, Albrecht believes. "In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub," he adds.

He's not alone. Wolfram Graf-Rudolf, director of the Aachen Zoo, told the newspaper, "I don't consider it appropriate for the species that the little polar bear is being raised on a bottle." The animal will be fixated on his keeper and not be a "real" polar bear, he says. However he feels it is now too late to put Knut out of his supposed misery. "The mistake has been made. One should have had the courage to put him to sleep much earlier."

Kill Knut because he's not a "real" polar bear? This is the PETA view of animals. Such people argue that animals have "rights" that forbid us from eating them, wearing them, riding them, putting them in zoos or circuses, having them as pets, or benefitting from them in any way whatsoever. Then they turn around and declare an animal worthless and unfit to live because dependence on humans has ruined its animal "purity" and "humanized" it. It's not love of animals that drives such people, it's hatred of humans.

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5 Responses to “Animal-rights activists want cub killed”

  1. alysha said

    i think its wrong to kill a polar bear(knut) just becuase its mother rejected it and why cant we just raise it in the zoo because then its getting watched by people who are willing to help knut and the people who want to have Knut die with a lethal injection should just have one to see how it feels because it never did anything to you!

  2. Christoph said

    This story is actually a fake by the German tabloid “Bild”. The animal activists quote is simply invented. He never suggested killing Knut. “Bild” has a reputation for inventing such stories from time to time to boost numbers. Normally “serious” journals like “Der Spiegel” take more care when reporting “Bild” stories, but this time even they fell for it. Nobody ever intended to kill Knut. The backgrounds can be found here:

    (sorry for the long URL- the article is in German, I did not find an english version of the true story)

    Bild invents such Horror stories on a regular basis. A few months ago they claimed a scientist was planning to turn little kittens into gasolin. (Which was of course rubbish)

  3. rgcombs said

    Verzeihung, Christoph, but I don’t believe you. Bild may have sensationalized its report, but the story was reported independently in any number of other media outlets. Many of them, including Spiegel, quoted or referenced the Bild story, but also spoke directly with Frank Albrecht and others who shared his opinion, including Rödiger Schmiedel and Wolfram Ludwig. A Google search on “knut bear animal activists” will find you any number of examples.

    Knut quickly became a world-wide sensation, and hundreds of journaists descended on the story like ravenous locusts, interviewing everyone remotely related to it — if the whole thing was faked by Bild, as you say, this would have been disclosed long ago (especially since most of the media hate the “right-wing” Bild).

    My German is quite rusty, but the article you linked to doesn’t seem to say the story is fake, it just seems to repeat the same “clarification” attributed to Albrecht in other publications: he was just raising the legality issue because of the precedent set by the case involving the Leipzig Zoo’s killing of a baby bear. That doesn’t sound like a discrediting of the Bild story, it sounds like backpedaling by someone who didn’t expect such a venomous reaction to his initial remarks.

  4. Christoph said

    I found an in-depth explanation with more links here (this time in English):

    The animal rights activist’s opinions are definitely debatable, yet he never suggested to kill Knut.

  5. rgcombs said

    Are you a friend or associate of Herr Albrecht, Christoph? Grissini must be a ”very” close friend, since the post you linked to described in detail what Albrecht was thinking when he sued the zoo and what his purpose was. Either Albrecht bared his soul, or Grissini is a mind-reader.

    I’ve seen nothing in the Grissini piece, the earlier FAZ article you linked, or the FAZ article cited by Grissini, as best as I can follow it, that disproves or casts serious doubt on the Bild and Spiegel stories.

    It seems to me that Albrecht, after his lawsuit and remarks created a public uproar, tried to “clarify” and “explain” with the help of various sympathetic people in the media and elsewhere, such as yourself.

    Actually, Grissini’s piece simply made it clearer that Albrecht is a radical animal-rights nut similar in his irrational beliefs to America’s Animal Liberation Front and PETA members. And therefore alternately silly and dangerous.

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