Copenhagen Zoo officials euthanize giraffe, feed it to the lions in front of spectators

By Amanda Stewart,
Marius the giraffe was euthanized depsite 27,000 signatures to save his life

The Copenhagen Zoo euthanized a healthy, young giraffe named Marius on Sunday to avoid inbreeding.

Even though the “Save Marius” petition was signed by 27,000 animal lovers, zoo officials dismembered the body of the giraffe and fed it to the lions in front of an audience, according to CNN.

The audience included children and other guests.

The zoo defended its decision saying that Marius had no place left in the herd. "Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes," Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo. "It can only be done by matching the genetic composition of the various animals with the available space. ... When giraffes breed as well as they do now, then you will inevitably run into so-called surplus problems now and then."

Several other zoos offered to take Marius in, but the officials at Copenhagen say that the transfer of Marius would only cause inbreeding.

Among the zoos that offered was the UK’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park who said that they were saddened by the death of the giraffe, according to BBC.

Stine Jensen, from Denmark's Organization Against the Suffering of Animals said that, "It just shows that the zoo is in fact not the ethical institution that it wants to portray itself as being, because here you have a waste product - that being Marius.”

The Copenhagen zoo kills 20 to 30 animals for the same reason each year.

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