All weekend my newsfeed on Facebook has been littered with stories about a giraffe, that I deliberately avoided reading. I knew that it would upset me and frankly, I didn’t want to know what was happening to this poor creature because whatever it was, it was enough to get even the hardest of hearts feeling sympathy, so I knew my pink and fluffy heart didn’t stand a chance of dealing with the news particularly well. However, late last night I gave into temptation and read one or two articles about this infamous animal. Needless to say I was absolutely disgusted by the events that had taken place and, as if the monsters responsible aren’t being given enough global attention already, I decided it would be the topic of this morning’s blog post, too.
On the BBC’s website last night, the headline read:
‘SURPLUS’ GIRAFFE PUT DOWN AT COPENHAGEN ZOO
Possibly the most insensitive, inappropriate, and idiotic word that those who issued the statement could have possibly used. Surplus? Perhaps they need to reassess their definition of the term because from my hippy standpoint, no life is surplus - although, perhaps we’re edging into a different territory altogether there, which is best saved for another rant. I think the thing that infuriates me most, not only in this particular scenario but in the general attitude felt by many people, is the outright disinterest and lack of respect for animal rights. If someone described a human’s life as being surplus, before loading, pointing and shooting a loaded pistol and that person’s head, they would be in prison; they wouldn’t be on every news channel that would host them trying to justify their actions. So what I really want to know is why the hell no one has stepped in and, rather than prancing about with protests, actually done something, anything, to stop these gun-wielding knuckle-draggers from playing Darwin with whatever other species they have in their ‘zoo’.
To add insult to injury, zoos across the globe, including the UK’s own Yorkshire Wildlife Park, offered to take the giraffe into their enclosures, providing him with a new home where his genetics wouldn’t be a problem or a concern - which, incidentally, is allegedly the whole reason behind this animal’s execution. The zoo had concerns about in-breeding. Although, you can’t blame them, a certain amount of in-breeding must have been involved with the staff themselves - I can’t see another reason why such idiocy would ever, ever seem like a good idea! So, while these Neanderthals are busy turning down offers left right and centre - are you ready for this, because this might be the worst bit so far? - they’re also loading up a bolt gun rather than a lethal injection, because the injection would contaminate the meat, and that would mean that they couldn’t then feed the meat to the lions.
Feed the meat to the lions.
I’m just going to leave that there for a second, just to let that sink in.
Following on from the execution of the animal, they proceeded to do a live post-mortem, which was broadcast on the internet, during which they allowed a crowd of visitors, both adults and children, to watch the animal being dissected, skinned, and thrown into the lion’s den, literally. Stenbaek Bro, a member of staff from the zoo, spoke to Associated Press about the live autopsy, explaining that: ‘I'm actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn't have had from watching a giraffe in a photo.’
Well done, Bro, at least you’re proud of this behaviour. It’s just unfortunate that the rest of the world is disgusted, outraged, enraged, and embarrassed. And they’re the tamer reactions. Some of animal rights activists are wondering how politically correct it would be to suggest that your life one day becomes ‘surplus’ and someone kindly puts you down. Out of curiosity, what does Copenhagen Zoo define ‘surplus’ as being these days? Because that’s another burning question I’ve had for the past twelve hours.
Faith has been slightly restored by the outrage voiced by Wildlife parks around the globe, who seem to be collectively suggesting that zoos, generally, but specifically Copenhagan’s, need to reassess their perspectives on the treatment and preservation of animals. Robert Krijuff, director of a wildlife park in the Netherlands, where Marius was also offered a home, instantly released a statement on the slaughter, claiming: ‘I can't believe it. We offered to save his life. Zoos need to change the way they do business.’ Which begs the question, once again, as to why the zoo were so hell-bent on putting the animal down when they could have simply re-homed him. With multiple offers from all corners of the globe to take Marius off their hands, where is their logic here? If indeed, there is any logic at all? If anything, the knowledge that so many other wildlife organisations were willing to home the animal, but Copenhagen still opted to slaughter it on a live internet feed, just makes this event more callous, disgusting, and every other unsavoury word you can think of.
Ultimately, I realise that I can stamp my feet and throw my toys our of the proverbial pram as much as I want to, and it won’t provide anything towards helping Marius, the two-year-old giraffe who is the victim in all of this madness, but maybe if enough people stamp their feet, our collective earthquake will prevent things like in the future. I don’t care whether you eat nothing but grass or whether you eat twenty-seven steaks on the average week, and you shouldn’t care either. The thing that we should really care about now is drawing a line, and while those who have committed themselves to caring for some of the world’s most exotic and sometimes endangered animals, have instead opted to employ their own version of natural selection in order to preserve their idea of good genetics, it seems a damn good time to draw that line to me.