UK Zoo Kills Animals and Throws Them in Trashcans

A safari park in the UK has come under fire for supposedly culling “surplus” animals indiscriminately and leaving their carcasses in trash cans.

The park (read: zoo) is the Knowsley Safari Park near Liverpool, a tourist attraction that claims to be “especially concerned” with the welfare of their animals. Recently it has come under fire because a long-time employee reported gruesome information about the park’s animal culling practices to authorities.

Penny Boyd was a photographer for the park who resigned after seeing animals culled because their numbers exceeded what the park required to entertain visitors. The culling was allegedly done by untrained staff who sometimes had to shoot animals as many as three times to kill them. After being culled, the animals were allegedly dumped haphazardly in or next to trash cans.

Predictably, the general manager of the park says that none of the animals seen in the pictures released by Boyd are of animals that were culled and accused Boyd of staging the pictures. He insists all animals pictured died of natural causes or were put down by vets.

Among the animals that Boyd photographed was a critically endangered deer. Presumably, if this animal was in fact culled either by accident or intentionally then the zoo was not charged with the crime. The authorities found only two violations in their investigation: that carcasses were not properly disposed of and that the staff required firearms training.

The main people involved in this story, both Penny Boyd and the general manager of Knowsley, acknowledge as a given that animals should be confined in zoos to be gawked at by tourists. They also both assert that “surplus” animals – animals beyond what those needed to entertain humans – may have to be killed. Their viewpoints are remarkably similar; despite the fact that they disagree about the facts of this case, they both in principle agree with culling animals but disagree on methods.

The fact that the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums praised Knowsley for its excellent animal welfare standards shows that even the most horrific practices of the animal entertainment industry can be overlooked by the organizations whose ostensible responsibility it is to oversee these kinds of problems.

The truth is that minor disagreements over welfare policy aren’t going to change the larger problem. The real problem is that animals are viewed as products, property to be disposed of in whatever manner is convenient when they have outlived their usefulness. The incidents at Knowsley can’t be viewed as aberrations; they are the natural occurrences in a culture that views animals’ lives as disposable, to be unceremoniously tossed into a garbage can for the crime of being “surplus.”

Animals do not exist for our entertainment anymore than they exist for our consumption. As much as I praise people like Boyd for bringing problems like this to the attention of the public, these instances must be seen as symptomatic and not aberrant. She is wrong to think that animal exploitation is inevitable and culling animals is a justifiable extension of animal entertainment that can be made “humane” if done properly. 

The only real answer is to end the exploitation of animals for any purpose: entertainment, food, clothing, research.

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Photo: no1danny


William C
William C1 years ago


W. C
W. C2 years ago

Thank you.

Jessica Story
Jessica Story4 years ago

I'm sick of humans playing 'god' with animals lives. Sack the management for a start. There should be no cull allowed on any species, especially endangered ones, send them out to other sanctuaries if you have too many. Any animals that need putting down should only be done by a trained vet, end of story!

Paul S.
Paul S5 years ago

Ignorance still rules, then: Even Penny the 'futografer' um..THINKS that surplus animals should be disposed of - but properly, mind you..
Morons. Profiteers. Scum.

Heather H.
Heather H7 years ago

They should be donating the animals to other farms instead of just cruely murdering them. Close that Phoney excuse for a animal park. it is a deathcamp, plain and simple. with Nazi types running it, "Kill and toss dead bodies, sounds like Auswietz(sp?)

Janine H.
Janine H7 years ago

This is a very sad story. Other animals and plants have to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Patricia L.
Patricia L8 years ago

the zoo must be closed

peter m.
peter m8 years ago

I'd intend to visit this park so i could photograph these S.O.B's and get them put in jail.

DeRae S.
Mr. & Mrs. Wm. S8 years ago


Lynda S.
Lynda S8 years ago

I agree the zoo should be closed. The animals in excess of what the zoo can look after could be sent to rescues rather than to die an untimely death. The UK is getting a bad rap all over. They have an asian elephant who has been in captivity all her life, chained 24/7 and beaten continuously, which has been caught on video and documented as to the number of times she has been beaten. So tell me, WHY doesn't anyone do something about her condition. It is one thing to display the cruelty on the internet it is another to remove her from her life of confinement. I do believe the owner is a Bobby Brooks and the animal handler who was beating the elephant has fled and no charges have been laid. What a pitiful world we live in where we as humans think that animals are at our disposal. They are beaten, eaten, hunted and thrown away like trash.