The director of a zoo in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero was dismissed after the detection of alleged irregularities in the handling of some animals, including killing some of the captive animals to feed the workers at the centre. According to Fernando Ruiz, the head of the Department of Wildlife of the State Environment Secretariat, José Nava, the former director of the Zoochilpan that operates in the city of Chilpancingo, had allegedly four of the zoo’s pygmy goats killed and cooked to be served at a New Year’s Eve party for workers.

Angel Almazán Juárez, the secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of the region, announced to the press that the director was dismissed for alleged irregularities such as the exchange of four watusis for goods and supplies for the centre.  The official also said that the investigation so far also discovered that the ex-director exchanged with people from other states, without authorization from the Ministry of the Environment, a zebra for three red deer.

Investigations continue at the zoo as other irregularities were discovered with animals such as Barbary sheep, pygmy goats, yaguarundis, coyotes, reptiles, a red-tailed falcon and a harlequin macaw. Suspicions arose earlier this year when neighbours reported the death of a deer that had been rescued from the streets after being attacked by dogs. It is not yet known whether any prosecution would be launched for any of these incidents.

Events like these are seen in zoos all over the world because for most zoo operators the animals they keep are just goods that can be dealt with as inanimate property, and can be exhibited, traded, or disposed of as they see fit. Mexican zoos are not an exception. 

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.