NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 18, 2007

Animal activists have in recent weeks said that a baby polar bear -- named Knut -- born in the Berlin Zoo should be euthanized rather than be subjected to the humiliation of being raised as a domestic pet, says James M. Taylor, managing editor of Environment and Climate News.

However, there could be ulterior motives, says Taylor:

  • Part of the animosity voiced by animal rights activists appeared to be in response to perceived economic exploitation of the animal.
  • The Berlin Zoo has lost money every year for at least the past nine years, but it now expects an explosion in popularity and revenue due to the rare birth-in-captivity of the cute polar bear cub.

But even if this were the case, as Andre Schuele, chief veterinarian of the Berlin Zoo notes, killing Knut makes no sense when animal rights activists are seeking endangered species protection for polar bears in response to the activists' expectation of catastrophic global warming.

"This sad call for the blood of a baby polar bear shows what charlatans and hypocrites animal rights extremists are," said Sterling Burnett, senior fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis.  "They claim to care about animals, but if any animal does not fit their definition of what an animal should be, they have no qualms about killing it."

"If animal rights zealots really loved animals, they would applaud human assistance to a struggling baby polar bear," Burnett added.  "Their opposition to human intervention shows that they are motivated not by a love of animals, but by a hatred of humans."

Source: James M. Taylor, "Zoo Must Kill Baby Polar Bear, Animal Rights Extremists Argue," Environment and Climate News, Heartland Institute, June 1, 2007.


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