Giraffe shot in front of children in Copenhagen
by FFE EU News Staff
Campaigns to save Copenhagen Zoo’s resident giraffe Marius didn’t stop zoo officials from putting down the animal. But officials carried out a post-mortem examination for willing watchers who would like a lesson in giraffe anatomy.
Marius, a 2-year-old giraffe, was deemed not to have the best genes for breeding and was put down by bolt gun. The carcass was then skinned and its meat was distributed to the zoo’s lions.
The post-morten was carried out in front of an audience of kids and adults. A live broadcast of the procedure was also streamed online. Zoo spokesperson Stenbaek Bro said that they left it up to the parents to decide if they wanted their kids to see the procedure.
He added ‘I’m actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn’t have had from watching a giraffe in a photo.’
But not everyone was happy with this educational examination. Animal rights groups have described the zoo’s action as ‘barbaric.’ Netherlands wildlife park director Robert Krijuff said ‘I can’t believe it. We offered to save his life. Zoos need to change the way they do business.’
Stine Jensen of Denmark’s Organisation Against the Suffering of Animals added ‘It just shows that the zoo is in fact not the ethical institution that it wants to portray itself as being, because here you have a waste product – that being Marius.
‘Here we have a zoo which thinks that putting this giraffe down instead of thinking of alternatives is the best option.’
Thousands of people had signed up to appeal for Marius’ life and zoos had also offered to adopt Marius before the giraffe was put down. The zoo’s scientific director Bengt Holst rejected the appeals and offers, explaining ‘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.’
Director Holst said zoos were responsible for ensuring their animal population remained healthy and in control. He said that in a typical year, Copenhagen Zoo puts down 20-30 animals.