Culling the captive

 
Published: Sunday 15 April 2001

Fearful of infecting rare animals with the foot-and-mouth epidemic sweeping uk , officials at the Woburn Safari Park in UK have begun culling the captive deer to feed the lions and tigers. They prefer the culling to importing meat that may be infected. Woburn Safari Park, about 65 kilometres from London, is the largest area in Western Europe devoted to conservation of protected species. "We are not bringing any meat supplies in for our big cats. Luckily we have a healthy deer population that we can cull," says Jake Veasey, animal manager at the park. Woburn, like many other zoos in UK, is involved in captive breeding programmes and many of the animal species in the park are on the brink of extinction. The park houses rare animals such as the Pere David's deer of which only 1,200 survive. Foot-and-mouth causes blisters on the hooves and in the mouths of cloven-hoofed animals, followed by severe weight loss but rarely death. "If foot-and-mouth spreads in the park, the law as it stands, demands that all animals be slaughtered," Veasey said in a Reuters report dated March 16, 2001.

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