Death of Marius the giraffe shows zoos all about business

Marius the giraffe
Marius the giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo (the

Understandably there was outrage this week when a Copenhagen zoo killed a healthy two-year-old "surplus" giraffe, cut it up and fed it to the lions.

That it was done in front of school children, and that the redundant giraffe had big gentle eyes and a name, Marius, starts to make it unpalatable.

Marius was part of a breeding program at the zoo, but his genes weren't needed. The zoo was concerned about too much inbreeding. The giraffe had to go.

Instead of sending him to another zoo or using some form of birth control, officials killed Marius and fed him to the lions after using him for a teachable moment with children.

After all, if the giraffe and lions were in their natural homes, they would be prey and hunter.

It isn't the animated movie Madagascar, where the hypochondriac giraffe Melman finds a way to fish for food for Alex the lion so he doesn't eat his friends.


This is reality. But for the zoo to tout that it's a natural process is wrong.

Zoos aren't natural. They're manmade institutions that keep animals captive for display and, with limitations, breeding programs.

The Copenhagen zoo isn't the only one that is killing healthy animals because of a lack of space or having too many of the same species. It's a backroom practice at zoos around the globe.

Zoos are controlled by people. The animals are controlled by people, like living commodities to be "managed." When there are too many "goods," some of them need to go.

The kids who watched Marius taken apart and fed learned a few lessons, including how harsh life can be and how disposable we humans treat other creatures.

Some of them might have also observed that even though zoos purport to be saving certain animals through breeding programs, ultimately the bottom line rules.

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