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Swedish zoo 'beats animals to death'

Published: 16 Oct 2012 10:26 GMT+02:00

Caroline Ryding, a zookeeper from Norrköping, left her job at the Öland Animal Park (Ölands Djur och Nöjespark) last year after being exposed to what she described as constant mistreatment of the animals.

“A goat and a coati were beaten to death with a baseball bat. They had no room for them and couldn’t afford a vet. The owners told us not to say anything because what they did was illegal,” she told The Local.

The coati, also known as a Brazilian aardvark, was killed by another member of staff on the orders of the owners, according to Ryding.

“What they did was terrible, and they have got to shoulder the responsibility for it,” she told The Local.

However, Hans Uhrus, spokesperson at the animal park, explained that the zookeepers do indeed look after their stock.

"At the park, we always take good care of our animals,” he told The Local.

Ryding, however, told The Local that other animals were not properly fed over the weekends, were given the wrong food and often no water.

“I also heard that they let a lion cub starve to death, but I cannot confirm this,” she said.

Previous employees have also told national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) how an ape died after a miscarriage, because the staff waited too long before calling for a vet.

“I left the job because I couldn’t work there anymore. I hope the situation improves there, I want them to take care of the animals," Ryding said.

Meanwhile, park spokesman Uhrus said that the zoo is regularly checked by both vets and the County Administration Board (Länsstyrelsen).

“The county administration in Kalmar carries out regular controls of our operation through inspections, in accordance with the animal protection laws among other things. They have no complaints against the park,” he said.

This claim was backed up by park vet Karl Johan Nordfelt:

“As the park’s veterinary surgeon I visit the park at least once a week to see the animals and how they are kept. The animals' well-being is checked everyday by the staff on site and I control how they are kept during my regular visits,” he said in a statement.

“I have nothing to criticize in the handling of the animals in the park.”

The animal park, on the Baltic island of Öland off the east coast of Sweden, boasts 100 different species of animals.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:28 October 16, 2012 by vinve
I am yet to understand, the double standards of people eating meat. I can see many people show compassion towards dogs, cats and other animals when its being mistreated. But on the other hand the same people eat kilos of meat every month. Don't the meat eaters think that the animals aren't mistreated or tortured before its served as food for these people?! In my perspective, i can't accept people showing compassion to certain animals and at the same time eating loads of meat, which are prepared by cruel killing of animals.
11:55 October 16, 2012 by Luska
@vinve I generally agree with what you say (i am a vegetarian myself). However, there is also a difference whether we look at the problem from the perspective of animal welfare and conservation. From the perspective of animal welfare- of course there is no difference whether it's a cow or aardvark suffering. However, from the perspective of species conservation, populations of wild animals cannot be compared to the population of domesticated animals. Populations of domesticated animals thrive beyond any natural limits whereas wild animals are endangered. Therefore, loss of each wild animal has a greater impact for the population than loss of a domesticated animal.
13:32 October 16, 2012 by 50öre
Some people are vegetarian for not to kill animals. (Vivne belongs to this category).

Some people are vegetarian as to eat healthy. Luska belongs to this category).

I hope I am correct.
15:26 October 16, 2012 by Svensksmith
There have actually been studies that show that plants show a heightened level of electromagnetic activity (which could be interpreted as emotional stress) when being cut for harvest.

So vinve, I guess you're gonna have to eat dirt.
16:02 October 16, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
Swedish healthcare model?
18:33 October 16, 2012 by DAVID T
I wonder what a Brazilian aardvark tastes like - yummy !!!
20:20 October 16, 2012 by 50öre
This animal has a beautiful nose. It can dig very deep inside to get it's food. I suppose it fed itself by digging and feeding itself. I wonder what it is doing on the tree?
21:00 October 16, 2012 by vinve
My earlier comment is not based on this article. But in general, I think every life is equally valuable and being cruel to any person/animal is one at the same. How can we justify that being cruel and killing a dog is of higher sin and the same towards a chicken is of lower sin. If people are intelligent enough to understand that there exists a life inside every animal, let it be dog or chicken, they can't be partial. And ofcourse its hard for meat eaters to justify their stand and they are left with no option rather than following double standards.
21:11 October 16, 2012 by 50öre
I agree with vinve. Meat eaters will simply apply double standards instead of shutting up. Or come up with complete out of topic of extreme standards.
21:41 October 16, 2012 by k2kats
Note to the Authorities:

Where there's smoke, there's usually fire. So when occasional staff do not see the same things that daily workers report, it does not necessarily mean that all is well.

Please investigate this zoo!
03:44 October 17, 2012 by Svensksmith
Well, I'm a meat eater and I think that the mis-treatment of animals is deplorable. And I think I am quite justifed in my opinion.
08:53 October 17, 2012 by 50öre
I think they make the animals to suffer during the weekends. Most of the people go to parties. So, Zoo staff makes the animals to starve during the weekends. And, Monday early morning they feed the animals just with water and a little bit of food. I guess they just keep sprinkling the same food to all animals little by little. I suspect only one person feeds all the animals just by running and sprinkling around. That's why some animals are fed with wrong food too.The Checking authorities come in Office car around 08:00 am or maybe 10:00. am on Monday. By that time the animals drank the water and just got relief. They think all is fine. Authorities are supposed to visit randomly. Not, just on Mondays-Thursdays
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