Kill That Polar Bear Cub, For the Sake of Animal Welfare:

Der Spiegel reports:

Animal rights activists, as SPIEGEL reported Monday, aren't so enthralled with the polar bear baby [being raised in a Berlin zoo]. They are concerned that Knut, who is being raised by human hand after his mother rejected him, is in danger of losing touch with the bear necessities. Some would like to see him dead.

"Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws," animal rights activist Frank Albrecht told the mass circulation newspaper Bild, whose front page headline Monday read "Will Sweet Knut Be Killed by Injection?"

Berlin Zoo is allowing Knut to be raised in such a way that the bear will have a behavioral disorder for the rest of his life, Albrecht believes. "In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub," he adds.

He's not alone. Wolfram Graf-Rudolf, director of the Aachen Zoo, told the newspaper, "I don't consider it appropriate for the species that the little polar bear is being raised on a bottle." The animal will be fixated on his keeper and not be a "real" polar bear, he says. However he feels it is now too late to put Knut out of his supposed misery. "The mistake has been made. One should have had the courage to put him to sleep much earlier."

The story contains some editorializing, and there's always a risk that the people being quoted are being misquoted or quoted out of context. Still, to my knowledge Der Spiegel is a fairly reputable source, so I thought I'd pass this along; and the quote from a zoo director is especially troublesome -- for all I know, Albrecht is some lone extremist, but when a zoo director says it, that's harder to dismiss. What seems like the German original is here, in case you want to read it. Thanks to Robert Bidinotto for the pointer.