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Community Saves Goats Condemned By Zoo

by Nicole Allard

Many small children love the goats at the Minnesota Zoo. They feed them, pet them, and they know their names. So, when the zoo announced it was planning to sell the goats for slaughter, the community was called to action.

The zoo, which opened in 2000, has sold animals for slaughter before. Last summer, after budget cuts, staff layoffs and even a winter closing to save money, eleven sheep and one goat were sent to auction.

This time, when reports of the latest proposed slaughter hit the news, fifty people signed up to buy goats and sheep.

Even though many of them dropped off the list, enough people came forward at the final hour willing to pay the $100 that the zoo needs for each animal.

The zoo's conservation manager, Tony Fisher, told a Pioneer Press reporter that he no longer expects to send any goats or sheep to auction.

The Minnesota Zoo encountered a huge reaction to their plan to sell their goats for slaughter, including a letter of protest from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

"Zoos should be safe havens for animals, not pitstops on the way to the slaughterhouse," Lisa Wathane, PETA's captive exotic animal specialist, wrote in the letter.

Wathane stated that the killings would be "not only unethical", but also "in direct violation of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's disposition policy, which is intended to ensure that the welfare of individual animals is carefully considered during placement, and that animals from AZA-member institutions are not transferred to individuals or organizations that lack the appropriate expertise or facilities to care for them."

According to the Vegan Society, around 4% of goats are killed by ritual slaughter, which means that the goats are fully conscious when their throats are cut.

Female goats who provide milk are usually slaughtered at six to eight years of age, although their natural life expectancy should be around fifteen years. Male goats, if not used for meat, are slaughtered at birth with an overdose of carbon dioxide, chloroform or barbiturates.

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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