A German zoo has claimed that it will soon be forced to slaughter some of the animals in order to feed them to other animals, due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the New York Times, Tierpark Neumünster — a zoo roughly one hour north of Hamburg, Germany — shut down on March 15, to comply with non-essential business guidelines. Since that time, it has been relying on donations to keep its operations running.
Verena Kaspari, the director of the zoo, spoke to German news outlet DPA and revealed that the zoo had not been given "any city funds" to help. "If I no longer have any money to buy feed, or if it should happen that my feed supplier is no longer able to deliver due to new restrictions, then I would slaughter animals to feed other animals," Kaspari said. She then added, "This is really the worst, worst case of all." The zoo reportedly did not comment on which animals they would plan to start with, but did confirm that Vitus — said to be the largest polar bear in Germany — would last.
“If — and this is really the worst, worst case of all — if I no longer have any money to buy feed," the German zoo’s director was quoted as saying, "then I would slaughter animals to feed other animals.” https://t.co/K52d20QmTX— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 15, 2020
Not everyone seems to agree with this approach to the situation, however. Lea Schmitz, a spokeswoman for German animal welfare association Deutscher Tierschutzbund, chided the idea of killing some animals to fed others. "Zoos bear the responsibility for their animals — even in times of crisis," she said. Schmitz then added, "Instead of conjuring up horror scenarios, the Neumünster Zoo should do everything possible to get its animals through this crisis with its own financial reserves, if those are available, government aid or other public funds."
Many social media users have since been commenting on the story, and an overwhelming majority of them are very critical of the plan for a variety of reasons. "I hope we are judged not by how we treat each other but how we treat other animals. I am not opposed to animals eating animals, that's they way it is. However several of the animals in zoo's, like the polar bear, are endangered or on the watch list," one person pointed out. At this time, it does not appear that Tierpark Neumünster has enacted their last resort plan.