Danes defend zoo's killing of healthy giraffe

Feb 10, 2014 by Sören Billing
A healthy young giraffe named Marius lies on the ground after being shot dead at Copenhagen zoo on Febuary 9, 2014 despite an online petition to save it signed by thousands of animal lovers

Many Danes on Monday defended the killing of a healthy but inbred giraffe at Copenhagen's zoo that triggered outrage after it was chopped up and fed to lions in front of visitors.

Copenhagen Zoo staff received death threats after the killing on Sunday of the 18-month-old animal, named Marius, which shocked animal lovers around the world.

Thousands signed an online petition to save him, with a billionaire even offering to buy him and keep him in her Beverly Hills garden.

But in Denmark, a nation with many farms, an overwhelming majority of social media users felt the global outcry was a sign of hypocrisy and political correctness.

A leading expert also decried the "Disneyfication" of zoo animals, while a Danish academic said the issue exposed cultural differences.

A journalist for the Politiken newspaper, Kristian Madsen, wrote on Twitter: "The whole world has gone crazy. What do they imagine the lions eat on days without a treat such as Marius? Brussel sprouts?"

Mikkel Dahlqvist, a PR consultant, tweeted: "Marius had a good home at the zoo for a year and a half. He lived, and now the lions are also happy and full."

Picture taken on Febuary 7, 2014 shows a healthy young giraffe named Marius who was shot dead and autopsied in the presence of visitors to Copenhagen zoo on Febuary 9, 2014 despite an online petition to save it signed by thousands of animal lovers

Dorte Dejbjerg Arens, a project coordinator, said: "I'm still livid over Marius. How can people get so hysterical over a giraffe while cancer, the war in Syria and the (anti-immigrant) Danish People's Party still exist."

The zoo said on its website it had no choice other than to prevent the animal attaining adulthood since under European Association of Zoos and Aquaria rules, inbreeding between giraffes is to be avoided.

However, the relatively muted public reaction in Denmark to Marius's death can partly be explained by cultural factors.

"Denmark was urbanised relatively late, which is why the general opinion here is that it's okay to keep and kill animals as long as you treat them well," said Peter Sandoee, a professor of bioethics at the University of Copenhagen.

"Animal rights activists in Denmark aren't nearly as strong as they are in Britain or the US," he added.

Arguing that "one of the most fundamental aspects of animals' conditions in the wild is that only a fraction of them survive," Sandoee slammed what he called the "Disneyfication" of zoos.

"You take this very romantic image of animals as people with fur or feathers. Animals are viewed as a type of citizen, with the implication that they should be treated on par with fellow human beings," he said.

Instead, a zoo's primary job should be to preserve different types of species and contribute to learning about how animals live in the wild, he said.

In the past, the Copenhagen had allowed tigers and lions to reproduce, killing the "surplus offspring" rather than castrating the animals or giving them contraceptives, he added.

"I think Copenhagen Zoo takes a progressive stance here because in doing so they (mimic) the ' natural life," he said.

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Sinister1812
2.2 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
Sounds like the animals are just objects to them. I'm sure there's plenty of meat in Denmark for the lions without having to kill a perfectly healthy giraffe.

The "logic" here is shit.
krundoloss
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
Animals live. Animals die. Zoos have rules. They had to kill the Giraffe. They might as well use the meat to feed other animals, and to honor the body and life of the Giraffe. What's the big deal?

Now the part about a Wealthy person offering to buy the Giraffe, now that sounds reasonable, but then again, there are rules to owning animals, and perhaps someone found that the risks are too great with inbred Giraffes? Perhaps the threat of reproducing or weakening the gene pool?

Not sure, but why does everyone have to act like humanely killing one Giraffe is so horrible. Guess what? Some lions in Africa just killed one and tore it apart while it was still alive. Its Nature People!
Sinister1812
4.1 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2014
Animals live. Animals die. Zoos have rules. They had to kill the Giraffe. They might as well use the meat to feed other animals, and to honor the body and life of the Giraffe. What's the big deal?


No, they didn't *have* to kill it. They *chose* to. There's the difference. No one thinks of animals as people with fur or feathers and the stuff of Disney. But there was nothing physically or mentally wrong with this animal.
tadchem
5 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
If 'inbreeding' was the main concern, they could have solved that quickly and humanely with a simple neutering.
la7dfa
2 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2014
This reminds me of people eating a Big Mac, while protesting against whale hunting.
Meat is murder, even if it comes in burger shape...
freeiam
2 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2014
It's very simple, animals have rights and this is a gross violation.
The people involved should be punished severely because they had no right at all to kill this animal.
It's also clear that even without animal rights - that are culture independent - these people are extremely cruel and insensitive and have similar reasoning as could be found in some of the darkest periods in recent human history.
Vviper
5 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
Woah! So they were afraid of the thing inbreeding. Why didn't they just neuter it so it can't reproduce?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
If you name an animal you give it a soul and so then killing it becomes murder. And if you murder it and skin it in front of children yove really got a problem. You can sterilize it though.
joemostowey
3.3 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2014
Ah, Wrongdoer's defending the indefensible. Like a child with his hand in the cookie jar. When a commenter starts his comment off with "The whole world has gone crazy".. one is reminded that most psychopaths think that everyone else is wrong and they are right.

The zoo chose the most inhumane solution and now find that they have offended many, many people- and try to explain away their behavior.

It doesn't work that way. No amount of "explaining" will mitigate what they have done, anymore than the excuses given by a criminal on trial will sway a jury if the accused knowingly does wrong. The Danes have effectively given the middle finger to the rest of the world, knowing full well beforehand what the world's verdict on this barbaric action would be.

Such behavior is as contemptible as the action that precipitated the outrage. To attempt excuses is reprehensible.
cantdrive85
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2014
So much uproar about the killing of an animal, yet for some reason keeping wild animals in captivity is completely acceptable. Maybe one day humanity will grow "wiser" and not need these circus shows we call zoos and "sea world". There is an interesting documovie called "Blackfish" on Netflix about humans proclivity to kidnap Orcas. Sad, sad state we humans are in...
Drjsa_oba
3 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2014
From the comments above I can easily see a huge disconnect of people from nature. The more distance from nature a person has the less they understand about life and death,.

The ignorance is huge but not astounding when you think about it. There is nothing wrong with death - it happens. killing is not cruel as has been stated above. Butchering a dead animal is not cruel. Butchering a dead animal in front of children is not traumatic. The trauma is caused by the fuss some people make of it.

If some person starts ranting and raving in front of a crowd then that is much more traumatic! The crazy people that are disconnected from nature cause all the trauma.
Drjsa_oba
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2014
Ah, Wrongdoer's defending the indefensible. Like a child with his hand in the cookie jar. When a commenter starts his comment off with "The whole world has gone crazy".. one is reminded that most psychopaths think that everyone else is wrong and they are right.

...

Such behavior is as contemptible as the action that precipitated the outrage. To attempt excuses is reprehensible.


This kind of response is clearly insane. Ignorance and lack of understanding do not give the loudest voice authority on the subject. What shocks the ignorant person more? death or butchery. Both events are extremely commonplace. If you live in a protected cocoon away from the real world why should you have any say in how the real world should operate.
adam_russell_9615
3 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch."

Austin Powers
nowhere
3 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2014
I'm sure there's plenty of meat in Denmark for the lions without having to kill a perfectly healthy giraffe.

Do you think the plenty of meat in Denmark doesn't also come from perfectly healthy animals? Why is it alright to kill them for their meat but not this giraffe?

No, they didn't *have* to kill it. They *chose* to.

If they didn't kill it how would they have fed the lions? Would it be more moral for them to have purchased a slaughtered animal carcass in the giraffe's place? Surely simply substituting the animal slaughtered doesn't change the morality of the issue?

But there was nothing physically or mentally wrong with this animal.

Are zoo lions usually fed deformed and or mentally ill animal remains?
Sinister1812
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
Do you think the plenty of meat in Denmark doesn't also come from perfectly healthy animals? Why is it alright to kill them for their meat but not this giraffe?


What if I told you that you can get meat from the local butcher.. And yes, it is already dead.

If they didn't kill it how would they have fed the lions? Would it be more moral for them to have purchased a slaughtered animal carcass in the giraffe's place? Surely simply substituting the animal slaughtered doesn't change the morality of the issue?


Um, with meat that was already dead and packaged? Maybe it doesn't change things in YOUR opinion. We have different definitions of morality I guess.

Are zoo lions usually fed deformed and or mentally ill animal remains?


Is that what I said, or are you deliberately being obtuse and trying to pick an argument here? That wasn't the point I was trying to make.
nowhere
4.5 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
they had no right at all to kill this animal.


this barbaric action


They have as much right, and are as barbaric as your local slaughter house. At least the meat was used to feed lions which can't eat alternatives, whereas human eat meat because taste beats morality any day.

killing is not cruel

Yes it is. Killing is absolutely as cruel as it come, and only justified when all other options are worse.
Sinister1812
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
If they didn't kill it how would they have fed the lions? Would it be more moral for them to have purchased a slaughtered animal carcass in the giraffe's place? Surely simply substituting the animal slaughtered doesn't change the morality of the issue?


I agree that it doesn't change the issue. I never said it did. Answer me this then- why was it necessary to kill it, instead of feeding lions meat that was already available?
nowhere
5 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
why was it necessary to kill it, instead of feeding lions meat that was already available?

It wasn't necessary to kill the giraffe specifically, yet some animal had to die to feed the lions. If already dead meat was used then the suppliers would need to restock, which entails an animals death later on.

My point is, why does no one care about this other animal? Why is it's life less important than the giraffe's? Why is the zoo seen as immoral when people happily stuff themselves with 400g steaks?
krundoloss
5 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2014
I agree that it does seem bizarre, killing a giraffe in front of children, but there are cultural differences here. We tend to put a higher value on the life of exotic animals, more so than cows or chickens. But in reality, we have no say in what a zoo in Denmark does. They had rules, they made the choice, and its done. Would it be acceptable in other nations with different cultures? Some cultures maybe, but many would not appreciate the spectacle.

Really I think everyone should calm down about it. It was one Giraffe, it was inbred. Let it go.
Requiem
3.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2014
It wasn't necessary to kill the giraffe specifically, yet some animal had to die to feed the lions. If already dead meat was used then the suppliers would need to restock, which entails an animals death later on.

My point is, why does no one care about this other animal? Why is it's life less important than the giraffe's? Why is the zoo seen as immoral when people happily stuff themselves with 400g steaks?


If immoral doesn't work for you, then how about plain stupid? Is somebody offering $500k for the next animal the suppliers will slaughter? How much meat for lions does $500k buy, exactly? I'll bet it's a hell of a lot more than 1 giraffe's worth.
barakn
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2014
If immoral doesn't work for you, then how about plain stupid? Is somebody offering $500k for the next animal the suppliers will slaughter? How much meat for lions does $500k buy, exactly? I'll bet it's a hell of a lot more than 1 giraffe's worth.

They could threaten to kill all the animals at the zoo and make billions! Surely you've stumbled on a winning strategy, Requiem.
Requiem
3 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2014
If immoral doesn't work for you, then how about plain stupid? Is somebody offering $500k for the next animal the suppliers will slaughter? How much meat for lions does $500k buy, exactly? I'll bet it's a hell of a lot more than 1 giraffe's worth.

They could threaten to kill all the animals at the zoo and make billions! Surely you've stumbled on a winning strategy, Requiem.


They sure could, and I'm sure in barakn's fantasy land this great heist is feasible. In the real world, they would probably all lose their jobs and get brought up on charges having made no money at all in the process. And what individual benefits from that money exactly, it would go to the zoo.

So no, that's not a strategy I would recommend. I was thinking more in the realm of non-fantasy fiction. Where they decide they need to replace a giraffe with one with different genes sometimes or somesuch.
cantdrive85
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2014
"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch."

Austin Powers

That would actually be a quote by Nigel Powers, Austin Powers' dad.
http://www.youtub...82QYzr-M
Sinister1812
3 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2014
Barakn ranks me 1/5 and doesn't exactly answer my question. Besides, I was replying to nowhere's comment..
nowhere
3.3 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2014
If immoral doesn't work for you, then how about plain stupid? Is somebody offering $500k for the next animal the suppliers will slaughter?


Stenbaek Bro said a significant part of EAZA membership is that the zoos don't own the animals themselves, but govern them, and therefore can't sell them to anyone outside the organization that don't follow the same set of rules.


I don't consider it stupid for a member of an organisation to abide by that organisations rules.
Vietvet
3 / 5 (5) Feb 12, 2014
Zoos across America routinely cull excess males from their antelope collections. What is unusual in this case is it being a charismatic animal the public would notice was missing if the zoo tried to hide what it was doing.
Requiem
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2014
If immoral doesn't work for you, then how about plain stupid? Is somebody offering $500k for the next animal the suppliers will slaughter?


Stenbaek Bro said a significant part of EAZA membership is that the zoos don't own the animals themselves, but govern them, and therefore can't sell them to anyone outside the organization that don't follow the same set of rules.


I don't consider it stupid for a member of an organisation to abide by that organisations rules.


You're assuming I missed that bit and am talking about some individual versus the cause of the decision, I guess?

Again, this is like deciding that you need room in your garage for another supercar and concluding that your only option is to blow up one of your Ferraris with tannerite. I'm sorry but you just aren't going to convince me otherwise, and I don't care who came to said conclusion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2014
Are zoo lions usually fed deformed and or mentally ill animal remains?
Probably. Lots of downers and old mangy horses.

"The freshness and quality of food products differ greatly from one place in the World to another."

-In Rome they used to get xians. But in the wild, defective animals are easier to separate from the herd as the herd gives them up willingly. Just like in Belgium.
http://www.thegua...ath-pain
TechnoCreed
4.5 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2014
@Sinister1812
See, here we are totally on the same side. This action was probably based on economics, and was totally lacking common sense. Zoo animals should be treated like pets. If the only consideration was the bottom line, than they might be in the wrong business. I hope they will be sanctioned by their habitual clientele and forced out of business. As for the nutcases that I was talking about under another article, just look here:

This reminds me of people eating a Big Mac, while protesting against whale hunting.
Meat is murder, even if it comes in burger shape...

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2014
Zoo animals should be treated like pets
I think they should be treated better than that.

"A puppy mill, sometimes known as a puppy farm, is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care. Similar types of operations exist for other animals most commonly kept as pets or used as feed for other animals."
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2014
For me, pets are not commercial products that you get from a store. They are family members to be mourned when their time as come to say goodbye.
Nestle
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2014
For me, pets are not commercial products that you get from a store. They are family members to be mourned when their time as come to say goodbye.
The actual truth is somewhere inbetween. Why the people adhere on extremes instead of balanced view of reality?
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2014
The actual truth is somewhere inbetween. Why the people adhere on extremes instead of balanced view of reality?

Well, those who have lost a few of these companions understand.
Drjsa_oba
3 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2014
People can and do become unnaturally attached to their pets. That does not make their opinions moral thought process more right than people who are dealing in animals that are not pets.

Above puppy factories was mentioned. In pet farming we are talking about an industry that produces animals for the pet market. Many animals bread for this purpose are not suitable and are killed.

In zoo animal farming a requirement is in the DNA and unsuitable animals are also killed. In food farming animals are killed that are not needed to increase stock supply. In many countries of the world you can choose your meat while it is still alive and it is routinely killed in public.

In some countries people are killed for various crimes.

Do we condemn all these barbarous atrocities? or only some of them. Are they really honestly wrong or just different?
nowhere
3 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2014
You're assuming I missed that bit and am talking about

I assumed you were talking about the zoo's decision not to sell one of their animals which is in accordance with the EAZA membership rules.

some individual versus the cause of the decision, I guess?

I don't understand what you mean by this.

Again, this [...] with tannerite.


Let me try and fix your analogy:

This is like deciding that you need room in your garage for another supercar and concluding that your only option is to [dismantle] one of your [inferior] Ferraris [in accordance with your clubs rules, so that it doesn't cause future inferior Ferraris. Additionally you realise you can use the spare parts to fix your porches, which are in constant need of maintenance and would require a different car to be dismantled anyway.]

I'm sorry but you just aren't going to convince me otherwise, and I don't care who came to said conclusion.

Being unreasonable does nothing to support your position.