“Culling” Comments

We did not get many responses to the “Pros and Controversies” article about culling.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear from those who favor culling for genetic reasons.  Readers are welcome to continue the discussion by using the comment section at the end of the article.

 Anonymous:  I feel that when caring for an animal, especially as a breeder, you are responsible for making the animal’s health and well-being your top priority.  Culling animals born with severe life-limiting abnormalities is understandable if it is done to alleviate a life of suffering which cannot be medically helped. I think CO2 chambers are as quick and painless as it gets when ending a life. As a breeder you accept this responsibility, as well as the responsibility of caring for animals you produce that are relativly healthy, if simply just “sub-par.” You can absolutely guarantee they don’t breed and contribute poor genes to the community, just don’t breed them. Keep them as a pet quality animal and make any accommodations you can if they have a physicaly limiting defect. Culling animals for kinked tails or missing toes isn’t at all like abortion in people, it’s more like killing an orphan with some abmormality (since most geckos do not care for their young once hatched I can’t say they have an opinion, unlike a human mother who certainly would). If the animal can live a happy life it should be given every oppertunity to. We are not simply creating pretty colors when breeding geckos, we are caring for life.

Valery, country – Russia, pet – leopard gecko
I think the culling should be done only in that case if the animal suffers from some mutilation caused by the breeding process and there is no way to help it or even to alleviate its suffering.
Genetic make-up alone is not a reason to cull animals. But if we are talking about culling, the most humane method for me personally is euthanasia as there were many researches in this area. As it is very widespread among other animals, I suppose this method is much more suitable if the pet has no chances for living.
There is no differences between ending a gecko’s and human’s life. And in both cases there must be strong reasons for making it. In spite of it, this question is really controversial and it will be not right to have only one point of view as we all know that there are a lot of exceptions which need to be considered separately.

Under what circumstances should culling be done?
I think culling should only be done if the animal is going to live a painful life and could not otherwise thrive even with extremely special care

Should geckos be culled because of their genetic make-up alone?
Never. If genetics are the problem then the solution should be very obvious, don’t breed them.

What is the most humane method for “putting down” a gecko?
CO2, it knocks them out instantly and then they die peacefully within a minute

What are the ethical considerations with culling?
All life has the right to live.  But if you are saving the animal from a short life with great pain then I don’t consider that much of a life.

Is there any difference between considerations about ending a gecko’s life and ending a human’s life?
Yes, of course! We know much more about and can do more in reguards to the human body than that of your beloved geckos. 


Well, if you’re a responsible and knowledgeable breeder, you realize that these will happen on occasion. Just like making sure you have homes for geckos you can’t sell, you should have homes/space for geckos that don’t have serious health complications.

A kinked tail or slightly deformed eyelids or shortened legs is not a reason to put the animal down. I DO agree that it should never be allowed to breed, but the responsibility of keeping that gecko goes onto the breeder him/herself.

If the medical conditions are severe then a CO2 chamber is probably the most humane option. If you feel its life won’t have meaning, after you put it to sleep with 10000ppm of CO2, feed the dead gecko to whatever you like or compost it and plant flowers in the compost.

What do you think?

Written by Aliza

Aliza is a home care speech therapist living in the Boston area. She successfully bred a variety of gecko species between 2005 and 2017. She currently cares for a large number of geckos as well as a few frogs and bearded dragons. Other interests which she pursues in her copious free time include work in ceramics, practicing aikido and surfing the internet.

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