An incident at the Copenhagen Zoo has recently made international news. Last week, a healthy, 2-year-old, male giraffe named Marius was shot and then skinned and fed to lions before the public. The decision to shoot the giraffe was not made lightly. In an effort to prevent inbreeding of the captive giraffe population, the zoo was advised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to get rid of the animal. The Copenhagen Zoo used the sad circumstances as a learning opportunity, allowing the public to watch the process of preparing a feed animal to use as enrichment.
Again, animal rights activists are taking the situation way too far. The Copenhagen Zoo and its staff have been receiving threats to their life and livelihood, including threatens to burn the zoo down! How exactly will burning down the entire institution help anything? Isn't that making the problem worse? Isn't that threatening MANY of the individual animals they claim to want to 'protect'? Logic apparently is not part of their mantra to save the animals. The first article I read was from what I can only assume is an extremist website for activists. They ended the article proclaiming “this practice of ‘keeping the population genetically sound’ sure doesn't seem like a kindness to us – either for Marius or for the other giraffes.” And they are right. It is not a kindness to you personally or a kindness to the poor giraffe that had to be shot, but it IS a kindness to ALL of the giraffe – and zoo visitor – relatives and future generations. That giraffe would have had a poor quality of life if they had kept him and given him contraceptives, which have detrimental side effects. The zoo also now has a spot available to bring in another giraffe with new genes to be introduced into the population, which is better for the giraffe population as a whole.