Anger as zoo to dissect second lion in three months in front of children


The lion will be dissected just as this one was in October

The event, called 'the beast inside out', will see a young lion being cut open and cut up in front of members of the public on Saturday.


We hold the event to educate and teach

Nina Collatz Christensen

A zoologist at the Odense Zoo in Denmark, where the event will be held, has revealed the African mammal is from the same litter as another lion which was dissected in front of children at the zoo in the autumn school holidays last year.

The previous dissection caused outrage from animal lovers around the world who were shocked at the "brutish" and "inhumane" act – which has been happening at the Danish zoo for the past 20 years.

Another public dissection of giraffe cub Marius earlier last year at Copenhagen Zoo was met with equal amounts of fury.

lion dissectedIG

The lion will be skinned in front of children

Odense Zoo zoologist Nina Collatz Christensen said: "We will just do what we usually do and have done for many years.

"As I said many times last autumn, we hold the event to educate and teach."

She said the lions had to be killed because there were too many to ensure the rest of the herd's health, and because they could not sell the lions to other zoos.

The zoo has been named one of the best zoo's in Europe for the past two years.


Zookeepers will show children the different parts of the lion

Zoologist Ms Christensen also believes it is integral for the zoo to show the other side of life.

When asked why they were dissecting another lion instead of an elephant or a tiger, for example, she said they would happily dissect any of those majestic creatures, but they do not have any elephants.

She added: "We have previously done the same with tapirs and ponies, and the day after the lion is dissected, an antelope will be cut open."

Child psychologists and animal activists have spoken strongly against the dissections.

LionAid, a leading lion conservation charity, said Odense Zoo needs to be hauled in front of the European zoo control body and accused the zoo of not managing its animals properly.

A spokeswoman said: "LionAid is appalled that once again the Odense Zoo plans to dissect a lion for the 'education' of young children.

"This zoo seems to have a large supply of euthanised young and healthy animals for this purpose and needs to be questioned by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) why this is the case.

"EAZA is of the opinion that 'modern and well managed zoos' select the species which they keep very carefully and for specific reasons.

"Clearly Odense should pay better attention to management of their 'collection' to prevent excess breeding and the need to regularly euthanise animals at their zoo."


Child psychologists have said it is not appropriate for under 10s

Danish child psychologist, Professor Per Schulz Jorgensen, said young children under the age of 10 should not be experiencing such a violent and bloody situation.

He said: "For young children, it is a physical assault when the lion gets its belly cut. They might be able to handle it but they also have a single picture of a lion playing.

"The lion, Simba, they have been reading about him with their grandmother, and now that image is broken down with dramatic force. It's what we call a trauma."

Charlotte Diamond, a child psychologist for the Mental Health Foundation in Denmark, said she "simply would not recommend it".

She said: "Children are not just little people. They also have a brain which is less experienced.

"They have not seen violence and aggression, blood and guts splattered.

"So it is not a natural part of their world, and therefore it is violent."

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