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February 11, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo Does Something Horrible.

Marius the giraffe

R.I.P. Marius the giraffe.

I can’t even watch the clip of this magnificent beast who was shot dead in front of onlookers, merely for the sake of curtailing the inbreeding of giraffes. With thousands of petitions signed and animal-rights activist groups searching for alternatives, even other zoos that would take the 18-month old giraffe, it still wasn’t enough to convince Danish zookeepers that this lovely creature could remain part of the landscape in the Copenhagen zoo.

I’m no fan of animals in captivity and when I heard about this despicable act, it seemed so unnecessary and unreal.

The morning before he was killed, Marius was given his favorite meal of rye bread, then a zoo veterinarian shot him in the head. Dead.

The most horrible part of this action is that children and onlookers were allowed to watch the entire process, including the autopsy performed and the subsequent feeding of Marius’s parts given to other animals.

This sweet harmless giraffe was considered useless for breeding because his genes were too common. Okay, then transfer him to another zoo. Or better yet, release him back into the wild or some other sanctuary that would have happily taken him in and offered him freedom and a good life.

I’m outraged, to say the least. There are protests going on around the world against the Copenhagen Zoo, and rightly so. Boycotting a zoo, along with other entertainment arenas with animals in captivity are becoming more mainstream. People don’t want to be part of inhumane activities or supposed care that any animal behind bars receives.

What happened to Marius was done with such reckless abandon. Why do children need to see this? What could possibly be gained from this act from start to finish? I felt so ill when I heard about it. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video showing how it was done.

The scientific director of the zoo didn’t think twice about canceling the killing of Marius. He was hell-bent on going through with his actions, no matter the protests, the worldwide concern or the affect on those watching.

I think there should be a special tribute to Marius and his amazing colors and body. All zoo animals are suffering in some way, shape or form. If we didn’t attend zoos and pay money to keep them open, there wouldn’t be a need to capture wild animals for our enjoyment.

If we need to see any animal, rare or otherwise, for extended lengths of time, we can make a trip to their natural habitat. I think the Copenhagen Zoo could have done better. Their apparent lack of compassion was evident, and the world responded as necessary. Can we forgive the Danish zoo for performing something so horrible? Time will tell. Meanwhile…

Here’s to Marius, the adorable brown and white spotted young giraffe, remaining in our hearts and minds as just another animal who didn’t have a voice.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

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