A two-year-old giraffe was put down by officials at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark on Sunday. The decision was made to prevent inbreeding within the giraffe population at the zoo.
The giraffe in question, Marius, was otherwise healthy and loved. The decision was made despite a petitionwith more than 27,000 signatures and numerous attempts by other zoos to take in Marius, such as the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK. But the Copenhagen Zoo refused to send away the giraffe.
The zoo’s choice to euthanize Marius was based on the bylaws of the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes, which “prohibit inbreeding in an effort to maintain the health of the stock,” according to Time.
Stine Jensen, a member of Denmark’s Organization Against the Suffering of Animals, did not agree with the decision. “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,” he told the BBC. “Here we have a zoo which thinks that putting this giraffe down instead of thinking of alternatives is the best option.”
While other options, such as contraceptives, were considered, they were ultimately decided against because they would have ruined Marius’ quality of life. Instead, he was killed with a bolt gun.
After the giraffe was put down, zoo workers dissected the giraffe in front of a crowd of adults and children. While some of its body will be used for research, other parts fed lions at the zoo.