Zoo Admits It Kills Extra Deer, Serves Them to Eat
Also on the menu in restaurants at Zurich's Langenberg zoo: wild boar
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2014 1:49 PM CDT
A deer munches on a snack in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Valley Morning Star, David Pike)

(Newser) – "Deer cutlet" and "braised wild boar roast" on a restaurant menu might warrant a double-take no matter what—but probably a little more so when it's a zoo restaurant doing the serving. "Is this not an April Fools' joke?" a visitor to the Langenberg wildlife park in Zurich said after finding out that Bambi was one of the selected entrees at zoo eateries, Ecorazzi reports. No, it's not an April Fools' joke: A park spokesman confirms that "guests of the Langenberg and Sihl restaurants can consume wildlife and livestock meat from the park's animals." But he notes the zoo considers the practice to be "very ecological," helping control the population because there's not enough space to house all 100 or so of the animals born there each year. The spokesman adds that 49 deer and 10 wild boar were shot and "recycled" in 2012, but he explains that by chowing down on the park's erstwhile residents, visitors will better understand the "natural cycle" of things, the Local reports.

A rep from the Foundation for the Animal in the Law agrees with him in part, saying there's nothing illegal about the zoo's methodology and essentially no "ethical" difference between what's going on at Langenberg and what goes on at a restaurant that serves meat from farm animals. But a spokesman for an animal welfare group disagrees. "It appears that the general public and visitors to the zoo are having the same reaction as World Animal Protection: We are appalled,” he says. "I'm sure if [people become] aware that the animals actually ended up on their plates at lunchtime, then they'll vote with their feet and won't go to the zoo." The only thing the deer and boar have to be thankful for: that they're not excess bison or horses, which apparently get fed to the lynxes and wolves. (At least the South Korean public's penchant for dog meat is on the decline.)