There has been a lot of Internet buzz about the Copenhagen Zoo killing one of their two-year-old giraffes. I really felt the need to comment on this, and I thought, why not post about it on my blog that no one reads?
To summarize, the zoo decided they didn’t want the giraffe due to inbreeding; they didn’t feel it would be a benefit to future reproduction. They shot it, butchered it, and fed it to lions—publicly.
Other zoos offered to buy the giraffe, but from what I gather, there were a lot of hoops to jump through in order to sell outside of the organization they belonged to, and transferring it to a zoo within the organization really didn’t solve the problem. Petitions were signed asking the giraffe be spared. Again, sparing the giraffe didn’t really solve their problem.
Now, I’m no animal rights activist, not by any means. I have no problem eating meat, though there are some things I wouldn’t eat because my head doesn’t like the idea, as illogical as I understand it to be. I wear leather. I’ve owned down and fur jackets. I don’t think we should ban animal testing. Under no circumstances do I believe people should be cruel to animals.
I love giraffes, and my first reaction was OH NOES NOT A GIRAFFE! But then the logical part of my brain kicked in.
This giraffe belonged to the zoo. Right or wrong, the zoo decided this animal wasn’t cut out to breed. Could they have spared the giraffe’s life? Sure they could have, but that’s not really the point I’m here to make.
Why is it that people are in arms about an unwanted giraffe being put down? How does this one giraffe differ from all the unwanted animals in shelters that are euthanized on a daily basis? Because it’s a giraffe? Because it has a cute little face?
Or was it because the giraffe was slaughtered in front of an audience and fed to lions?
I remember going dear hunting with my dad when I was a little kid. Well, I didn’t hunt, and I’m fairly certain my dad didn’t, but other people there did. I remember the carcasses hanging outside. I remember eating spaghetti only to discover later that it had venison in it, and that was why it tasted so weird and ZOMG I ATE BAMBI I’LL NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF!
My husband grew up on a hobby farm. He was a part of the slaughtering process. Lots of people witness things like this—children and adults alike.
Is that so different than watching a giraffe be slaughtered at the zoo?
But they fed it to lions!
Okay, this is where my epic eye rolling begins. Lions are predators. They eat meat. I have no idea what zoos feed their lions on a regular basis, but if I had to guess, I’d say a pig or a cow or something. It doesn’t really matter, so I’m not going to bother looking it up. My point is, some animal has to die in order for those lions to live. Some animal is being killed and butchered. What difference does it whether the particular animal was bred in captivity as food, or bred in captivity, found to be undesirable, and then turned into food?
That giraffe was quite possibly the freshest meal those lions have ever received. That giraffe was the lions’ natural prey. So what was the problem? Was it because people could see the skin still intact, identifying it as a giraffe instead of some unidentifiable cut of meat haphazardly tossed into their pen?
Don’t get me wrong. The giraffe-loving girl inside of me wants to be sad over poor Marius and the loss of his too-short life, and I will allow her to be! But the reasonable girl inside of me can’t help but think this was actually kind of a great decision. It was a learning experience for those who chose to be there to witness it. It was shot so the meat stayed safe for the lions. (Hey, they could have released it into the lion habitat to be hunted.) It removed an animal they felt was too inbred for future breeding.
The reactions from people regarding this situation are fueled by emotions. Even if they chose some random animal to do this to, that doesn’t mean the zoo owners and their families deserve death threats and cancer wishes.
People need to reevaluate their priorities.
This morning I started a new audiobook, and I think it’s quite fitting to this situation. It’s called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog (view it on Amazon). I’ve listened to the first 15 minutes, and already I’m changing the way I look at things, as well as being appalled by the logical path my brain is taking. But that’s the kind of thing I like.
I think that’s all I have to say on this subject for now.
p.s. They eat dogs in China.