A Danish Zoo Sparks Outrage By Killing A Perfectly Healthy Giraffe

Photo Credit: snowbear from www.morguefile.com

Photo Credit: snowbear from www.morguefile.com

In my mind, no one can ever justify killing a giraffe. How can the Copenhagen Zoo honestly tell people that a young giraffe named Marius had to die because of anti-inbreeding rules?

Marius was killed by a shotgun yesterday, and after an autopsy in front of an audience that included children, his remains were fed to the zoo’s lions. Bengt Holst, the scientific director at the Copenhagen Zoo, said Marius was killed because there were already a lot of giraffes with similar genes in the organization’s breeding program. He also said that 20 to 30 animals are put down at the Copenhagen Zoo in a typical year.

“Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes,” Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Copenhagen Zoo, told the BBC.

The zoo not only ignored the “Save Marius” petition that was signed by thousands of people, but it also turned down adoption offers from other zoos.  The UK’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park was among several places which offered to take him in. It says it has a “state-of-the-art giraffe house and the capacity for an extra male.”

There was even someone who was willing to pay about $682,000 to take Marius in.

Why couldn’t you move the giraffe to another place so that it didn’t have to die? Why is killing a perfectly healthy animal even an option at a zoo? You have no right to have an animal in your zoo, and then kill it later on!

The Copenhagen Zoo said that only zoos that adhere to certain rules can be part of international breeding programs, and under its rules, inbreeding among giraffes is to be avoided at any cost.

Contraceptives can’t be given to giraffes because they “have a number of unwanted side effects on the internal organs and we would therefore apply a poorer animal welfare if we did not euthanize,” the Copenhagen Zoo said.

Animal Rights Sweden, an organization, has urged people to stop going to zoos as a form of protest, according to the Associated Press. “It is no secret that animals are killed when there is no longer space, or if the animals don’t have genes that are interesting enough,” it said in a statement.

I honestly never thought I’d hear about a healthy giraffe being killed at a zoo, and I think it’s disgusting that a zoo would rather kill an animal than find another home for it.

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