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Lions destroyed at Longleat Safari Park


                                               Violent cubs that need to be killed? Really??? 

We today heard about the euthanasia of a male, a female and four lion cubs at Longleat Safari Park with sadness, but also with a lack of surprise. Let me explain. 

Longleat is an estate owned by the  7th Marquess of Bath.  Longleat Safari and Adventure Park was opened in 1966 and was the first drive-through safari park outside Africa – and considered a massive breakthrough in the way in which captive animals were kept, with the animals roaming “freely” and the visitors in cars. The concept of Longleat Safari Park and others to follow were the brainchild of circus mogul Jimmy Chipperfield.

Longleat has long been associated with lions – their premier attraction. The Safari Park claims conservation awareness and financial support for wildlife.  Longleat Enterprises reported an annual turnover of  £16,497,000 on 31 December 2012 and an annual profit of  £1,171,000. They listed 410 employees. Twelve directors were paid a total £2,251,000. 

Longleat needs lots of lion cubs – the darlings of the public. Hence they will continue to breed lions on the estate while knowing full-well that excess lions cannot be placed anywhere else. The world zoos are full of lions. Too many of them.  No way of releasing them into the wild as the zoos claim – forever captives. 

The pressure to deliver cubs for the paying visitors is too hard to ignore. And so Longleat ends up with an excess of lions (and who knows what other species). So they must eventually destroy them.

That is the truth of zoos these days. They cannot stop breeding as their income depends on a steady supply of cute cubs, calves, babies. They cannot house the resulting excess.

But meanwhile they have developed a great PR machine. Longleat said the excess lions were “violent” and had to be destroyed. Including those extremely violent lion cubs(?) in the picture above. 

The consequences will be entirely predictable. Longleat will lie low for a bit. Come summer the short-attention span public will again flock to their gates. Zoos are enterprises that earn big money and profits as seen above. And unless regulated out of existence the public will continue to visit them for a nice day out. And the lions will continue to be allowed to breed. 

Picture credit:

Posted by Chris Macsween at 23:03

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