You must have heard of Knut.
He was born on December 5th, just like your humble correspondent, Sheldon Glashow, and Werner Heisenberg, and he has instantly become one of the greatest German superstars. It's no surprise: look at him and click at him. Knut postcards, DVDs, mugs, keychains, candy, and stuffed teddy bears are sold for as much as $40. Germany went Knuts and news.google.com offers 800 hits.
Needless to say, I agree with every word of Douglas Kern. Knut shouldn't die just because his mother was a bitch who rejected her child. ;-) Also, I think it is highly questionable whether Knut is going to become such a loser. If I were a female polar bear, it is very plausible that I might fall in love with Knut, too. :-) If he trains wrestling, he may also become much better an athlete than an average polar bear.
What the environmentalists are saying reveals their strong religious belief in cryptocreationism. They want the "classic" rules of nature to operate everywhere but they seem to be completely unable to realize that humans are a part of nature, too. Whatever effect the human society has on the traditional rules is a part of the evolution of natural processes. There are no eternally valid "classic" rules except for string theory. The laws of survival depend on the context, environment, and those who live there. The laws of survival have been evolving for billions of years.
There is no truly qualitative gap that would distinguish men who live today from the men who lived millenia ago just like there is no qualitative gap between mammals and other animals. Life has been evolving for billions of years and the evolution of man is just another chapter of this exciting story.
Darwin was so courageous that he has argued that we actually have common ancestors with other animals and the laws that directed the evolution of life are analogous to various kinds of competition in the human society. When a member of these animal right groups reads this paragraph, she must be driven up the wall. ;-)
The environmentalists' approach is not only distasteful but it is also extremely inconsistent. They don't like inherently "human" modifications of the natural laws such as a bottle of milk but they are ready to use a sophisticated lethal injection with cutting-edge deadly 20th century chemicals in it. Such hypocrisy can only be matched by Al Gore. Such inconsistency can only be compared to loop quantum gravity.
Fine. If Herr Frank Albrecht of the absurdly called "German Federation for the Protection of Animals" really can't live on the same planet with a small polar bear who is people's friend and if he thinks that one of them - Albrecht or Knut - must die, then let me re-iterate once again that Knut must live. As far as natural laws go, Knut was very lucky - and maybe smart - that he was born in such a way that his natural enemies such as the animal activists can't really kill him because before they attempt so, they will be stopped themselves.
Just like hundreds of millions of people love their puppies, a Berlin zoo can afford to support its baby polar bear. Domestication has been around for thousands of years. It is very logical to expect that as humans extend their influence, domestication of animals will become more common than it is today.
What these activists hate is any structure or sophistication in the life of the Universe. They hate any specialization, they hate any intelligence that has been added to the life on Earth, they hate the very idea that one species was able to influence the rules that determine who will survive and who will not even though this has happened hundreds of times in the past, they hate the mankind, they hate anything that is friendly with the mankind, and they really hate any evolution because they imagine nature to be static which has of course nothing to do with reality. They're just bad people.
Killing knut would be a crazy monstrosity from the human, emotional, political, and economical point of view.