August 4th, 2006



Yes, most of the Minnesotans on my flist have already posted this, but I just have to get my rant on too...

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This has pissed me off so much. A nine year old should know better. Also, where were her parents? Did they see her climbing up and reaching down? Did they tell her not to?

This family should be banned from the zoo for life. They should also have to pay the replacement costs for 5 meerkats and the necropsies. 

Is it cruel and petty of me that I had been hoping that one of the meerkats would have had rabies so that she has to get the shots anyway? 

So the cute little Suricata suricatta in my icon may be dead now. Also, these pictures following? Most likely dead as they were on exhibit just a few weeks ago. 

Yes, people are important, and often times we have to put humans rights and safety over that of animals. But not in this case. These senseless deaths could have all been prevented with a vaccine. Yes, the vaccine isn't fun, but it would also be a lesson to the girl and her parents that life has consequences. I personally feel that as she was reaching into a area off limits and it wasn't a case of an animal getting out and biting her that there should have not been a choice about the shots.


More on the Meerkat Murders

Information on the incident given to volunteers:

Good morning Minnesota Zoo Volunteers,

On Wednesday afternoon, August 2, a nine-year old girl was bit by a
meerkat. Because of the potential for rabies, the Zoo was required to
euthanize the troop of meerkats and test for rabies (all five animals
tested negative for rabies). The reason we had to euthanize all five
animals that were on exhibit at the time of the incident is because we
had no way of knowing which meerkat bit the girl.

The Zoo is saddened by this incident. When a person at the Zoo is bit
by an animal that has the potential to carry rabies, the Zoo has two
options: 1. The person who is bit goes through the rabies vaccination
series; or 2. If they are not able or willing to take the series, the
Department of Public Health then mandates that the Zoo must euthanize
the animal and test for rabies. The only way to test for rabies is via
necropsy in the brain.

The outdoor Meerkat exhibit will be temporarily closed as modifications
are made to the exhibit. The remaining four male meerkats that have
been on display in the Aardvark Exhibit will continue to be exhibited
indoors until modifications on the outdoor Meerkat Exhibit are complete.

Please note that this story is being picked up by virtually every media
outlet. As of Friday morning, all of the stories have shown the Zoo in
a favorable light. If you are asked questions about this unfortunate
incident, please keep your answers and dialogue as simple as possible
in accordance with the facts stated above. Do not speculate about
details. Do not offer your personal opinion about the situation.

Info on rabies HERE

Good info on diagnosis, treatment & prevention HERE

Comments I've seen in my journal, friends journals, and comments to articles all seem to be overwhelmingly of the belief that the parents are bad parents who didn't watch their kid and that they should have had the vaccine done.

I remember when I was a kid when they would talk about rabies shots it was twenty very painful shots in the stomach. Now it is 6 simple shots in the arm over a 4 week period. Is that really a lot if it means not having to kill five animals that are almost certainly not infected? The news have not released the family's name. Probably for the best because I'm not hearing anyone say that they made the right decision when they decided to kill 5 innocent animals.

I still firmly believe that these parents should be permanently banned from the zoo and that they should have to pay for the necropsies and the replacement cost of 5 meerkats.

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