Lion Cub to Be Dissected at Odense Zoo, Denmark, Thursday 15 October

Stephen Wiggins Article, Petition Leave a Comment

24 October Petition to Prohibit EU Zoos from Breeding ‘Surplus’ Animals


Original “Stop the Dissection of Lion Cub” – Petition – Care2

Vote – The Mirror Newspaper


I am sickened to report, the lion cub dissection at Odense Zoo went ahead earlier today – “Adult spectators held scarves to their noses to ward off the pungent smell as they watched.”

Odense Zoo Dissection

Joanna Swabe, from a Brussels-based animal protection group, criticised Odense Zoo for killing three healthy young lions this year.

“Zoos routinely over-breed and kill lions and thousands of other animals deemed surplus to requirements,” she said, adding that zoos have “an ethical responsibility” and can use contraceptive options “to manage reproduction, prevent inbreeding [and] maintain genetically healthy populations.”



Thursday, 15 October 2015, a female lion cub will be killed (see Footnote) at the Odense Zoo (170 km/105 miles) west of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Why? Because the female lion cub would be held within its own pride at Odense Zoo and there is a risk of inbreeding in the future.

So, what alternatives does the Odense Zoo have? Well according to Zookeeper Michael Wallberg Soerensen “none” apart from the public dissection of the female lion cub Thursday.

Zookeeper Michael Wallberg Soerensen has said:

“We are not chopping up animals for fun. We believe in sharing knowledge”…….”they [the dissections] are “not for entertainment” but are educational.”

lion dissection

Public Lion Dissection

Danish Zoos have “performed public dissections for 20 years” apparently. Indeed only last year, Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo caused outrage when they euthanized a healthy, 2 year old giraffe (named Marius, also killed “to prevent inbreeding“) and dissected it in front of guests, including children.


Marius – Killed at Copenhagen Zoo for ‘Educational’ Dissection Last Year

In March 2014, The Copenhagen Zoo that prompted international outrage by putting down Marius, killed two lions and their two cubs “to make way for a new male” – – Copenhagen Zoo, 26 March 2014.

Wallberg Sorensen said 10 October 2015, that the purpose of the public lion cub dissection planned at Odense Zoo, was to give people “a closer-to-the-animals experience.” Well, no one can disagree with him there on how close and bloody that “education” will be.

I find it hard to believe the general zoo visiting public will have the stomach to be “educated” in a live environment. If that “education” is so important for the greater good of the Danish public, why not use pre-made models (sculpted, or digital) and presentation materials? Why does a live, healthy lion cub have to be sacrificed for the purpose?

Wallberg Sorensen continued “It is important not to give animals human attributes that they do not have.

I am not sure what “human attributes” Mr Sorensen thinks animals (including the chosen lion cub to be killed (see Footnote)) lack. All animals are sentient beings able to feel pain, sense fear, want to live a full life etc. But it true, that animals do not possess the human attribute to justify killing for fun and dressing it up as “education.”

What alternatives are/were available to Mr Sorensen and the Odense Zoo for the lion cub in question, apart from killing it (see Footnote) and chopping it up in front of Odense Zoo’s ‘guests?’

Option 1. What is/was wrong with spaying the female lion cub in question instead and sparing her life (or in the case of a male, neutering)?

Option 2. There are lots of ethical captive lion sanctuaries in the world:

Four Paws’ LIONSROCK sanctuary in South Africa, The Born Free Foundation, Longleat perhaps, plus many others….?

Introducing a cub from another ‘pride’ is not without risks, but better than the lion cub just being killed for the excuse of “education” for some half interested zoo guests isn’t it?

According to the New York Post, “Danish people OK with zoo’s public dissection of baby lion,” 11 October 2015.

But, then again the Danish people seem quite happy with the Kingdom of Denmark illegally assisting the blood filled carnage of the Faroe Islands’ annual dolphin and whale killing spree (called the “the Grindadráp” or “the Grind” cetaceans cull). So, what ‘value’ could one lion cub’s life have in Denmark?


I am now reading a Guardian news report that says the cub was killed 9 months ago and frozen, with the unthawed body due for dissection on Thursday. So, it is (perhaps) already too late for this cub, but the petition will send a message (maybe) that this apparently wanton action appears unacceptable (from outside of Denmark).

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