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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

PETA: Zoo Animals Didn’t Have to Die

Written by Alisa Mullins | June 22, 2012

Could the Lake Superior Zoo have taken steps to prevent the deaths of 14 animals, including a donkey, sheep, goats, a snowy owl, a turkey vulture, and a raven, after their enclosures were engulfed in floodwaters during a flash flood last week? PETA thinks so, and we sent a letter to the Duluth, Minnesota, city attorney urging him to charge the zoo with cruelty.


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Minnesota’s animal protection laws define “cruelty” as “every act, omission, or neglect which causes or permits unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death” and state that anyone who deprives any animal of necessary shelter or causes or allows any animal to be unjustifiably injured or killed is in violation.

In our letter to the city attorney, we pointed out that the zoo had advance warning of the risk of flash flooding and that the same creek that flooded the zoo had caused flooding at the facility two years ago.

These animals had no way to save themselves—they were at the mercy of their caretakers, who let them down in the worst possible way. If zoos are going to confine animals to cages so that people can spend a Saturday with the kids gawking at them, the least that they can do is to make sure that the animals aren’t swept away in a flood while the people who are supposed to be safeguarding them are safe at home in their beds. 

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  • crystal says:

    THANK YOU, PETA. I live near Duluth and though I have never gone to this zoo (and never will) I have heard that flooding is not the only problem they’ve had in regards to the care of these animals. This is why they are not accredited. I just read their “Zoo Happenings” statement regarding the flooding and found them taking zero responsibility for the deaths of the animals that were in their care (they place the blame on the weather and give inaccurate information – we had already had weeks of rain and high waters and had actually been given THREE DAYS of storm and flood warnings for the day of the occurrence), no sorrow or concern voiced for the loss of those animals and the suffering they endured and no concern voiced for the safety of the animals they will be replaced with. NO focus on the animals, instead their focus is on garnering money, the damage done to structures, showing concern for their “public” and their self-designation as “a community treasure and educational asset”. They are also rebuilding on the same site. Unreal. Especially, as I’ve heard from locals, this is at least the third time that site has flooded. Please post any updates and petitions, etc.

  • crystal says:

    THANK YOU, PETA. I live near Duluth and though I have never gone to this zoo (and never will) I have heard that flooding is not the only problem they’ve had in regards to the care of these animals. This is why they are not accredited. I just read their “Zoo Happenings” statement regarding the flooding and found them taking zero responsibility for the deaths of the animals that were in their care (they place the blame on the weather and give inaccurate information – we had already had weeks of rain and high waters and had actually been given THREE DAYS of storm and flood warnings for the day of the occurrence), no sorrow or concern voiced for the loss of those animals and the suffering they endured and no concern voiced for the safety of the animals they will be replaced with. NO focus on the animals, instead their focus is on garnering money, the damage done to structures, concern for their “public” and their self-designation as “a community treasure and educational asset”. They are also rebuilding on the same site. Unreal. Especially, as I’ve heard from locals, this is at least the third time that site has flooded. Please post any updates and petitions, etc.

  • elly says:

    I wonder if the people of the zoo have a band with the animals, because if they really care about them they should have had a solution for a long time allready for this kind of disasters. Shame on them!!!!!

  • sagey says:

    I agree..If they had advanced warning of the flooding then they are totally responsible.. When animals die needlessly then someone should be held accountable..

  • Christopher says:

    That is quite saddening to think innocent animals suffered because of ignorant workers…

  • Amber says:

    I live in Minnesota and i 100% agree the Duluth zoo is at fault for what happened to those animals. They should have had a plan for any natural disater. They are near lake superior for goodnes sake. Anything could happen. The zoo can feel bad all they want, but they are selfess and cruel. I believe they should all have to answer for this.

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