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French zookeeper guilty of beating ostrich with a shovel: Tried to blame pony

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A zookeeper has been sentenced to six months in jail after he was found guilty of beating an ostrich to death over the head with a shovel. And if that wasn't a heinous enough deed, the zookeeper tried to blame an aged pony for killing the giant bird reported The Independent.

The unnamed zookeeper at the La Teste-de-Buch in southwestern France, told authorities the pony who shared a stall with the bird, was responsible for kicking the ostrich and killing it. Zoo officials had a hard time believing the story because of the pony's advanced age and its height.

Witnesses then came forward stating they had seen the zookeeper attack the ostrich and beat it over the head until it was almost dead. A necropsy later revealed the ostrich had died from head trauma after being beaten over the head.

The zookeeper was fired from his job of 15-years and also fined 5,000 euros. ($6,844)

Are zoos really saving animals on the edge of extinction? Are they really educating people and providing our children with an accurate account of how wild animals live? Zoos continue to have problems with genetic diversity; hence the unnecessary killing of zoo animals born in captivity and the problems of potential interbreeding. Some animals, such as elephants and pandas, have proven extremely difficult to breed in captivity.

Then to speak of the conditions wild animals are forced to live in; small enclosures and at times cages only resulting in bored, lonely animals displaying heartbreaking symptoms of depression and anxiety by pacing, licking, and other abnormal behaviors. And this is only the edge of the problems for zoos.

So what to do? Wildlife deserve to live on protected reserves to mimic their natural environment as much as possible. Legislation needs to be passed to protect wildlife, enforce anti-poaching legislation, and education needs to include animals living as they should; not in confined, small cages for screaming children to torment and tease.

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