The Barbaric Slaughter of Marius the Giraffe

“…the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Denmark Zoo Kills Giraffe

I can’t believe it. We offered to save his life. Zoos need to change the way they do business”

Robert Krijuff
Director of Dutch wildlife park

This morning I was shocked, horrified, sad and angry to read about the murder of a giraffe at a zoo in Copenhagen. While strictly speaking in the English language the term murder can only be used in reference to a human being it is however the only word that adequately describes the atrocity committed towards this gentle and most importantly sentient being – and I might add all animals whose lives are taken from them by human beings for any reason. Extreme by the standards of many I know. However animal rights issues per se are not the subject of this post.

The above atrocity has shocked people worldwide, not only animal rights supporters such as myself who abhor the killing, exploitation and abuse of any animal including the human animal. In fact I was alerted to this crime by an e-mail pal in Uruguay.

The horror of this sickening event was compound by the fact that the unfortunate animal was skinned and fed to lions in front of children. Remember the incident last week of the Foxes killed in front of children.

What kind of message does this send to those children? I thought barbaric scenes like this would only be seen in places such as China.

The callous indifference of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria which made the decision to kill the giraffe  and to which the Copenhagen zoo belongs  is shocking in the extreme. Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Copenhagen zoo defended the decision.

Apparently strict breeding rules was their justification for killing an intelligent thinking feeling living being.

“Holst, told the BBC.
Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes,”

There is no justification under any circumstance,  less so when there had been an offer to rehome the animal by a wildlife park in the UK which has a state-of-the-art giraffe house and the capacity for an extra male. Several other zoos offered to take Marius and an offer of 500,000 euros was made to the Copenhagen Zoo from a private individual.

So why kill this animal, surely not for cheap food for the lions? Though nothing would surprise me. Or perhaps it was sheer bloody mindedness. Whatever  the decision to murder this animal is barbaric and unethical.

Thousands of people signed an online petition appealing for a change of heart over the two-year-old Marius, yet nothing moved these indifferent callous persons to compassion and respect for the life of this animal,  who like all creatures wishes to live as much as you or I or Bengt Holst.

What right have human beings to kill and interfere with the lives of the other creatures with whom we share this world. Zoos are in any case no place for animals. Breeding programmes are simply excuses to continue this anachronism of a less enlightened time.

A spokesman for the zoo told the Associated Press the event allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch.

“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,”

I am speechless. Look closely at the photo some are very young children, who knows the psychological damage caused or the callous indifference engendered. The world is a cold and hard place of indifference to suffering and one can understand why when children are desensitised in such a way.

I am reminded of yet another story concerning barbaric and callous cruelty towards giraffe  involving children reblogged here and the petition associated with this with a photo which  shows a family, including three children, standing over a dead giraffe

Shame on the parents,  Shame on the Zoo

Action you can take

If  you feel as strongly about this as I and thousands worldwide please write to the Copenhagen zoo and to European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and express your outrage in the strongest possible way without being abusive.


Copenhagen  zoo

Mails to Zoo should be send to:
This is Zoo’s main mailbox, where mails will be distributed to other departments.
Phone: +45 72 200 200
Postal address:
Zoologisk Have
Roskildevej 38
Postboks 7
DK 2000 Frederiksberg
DenmarkZoo Food & Shop A/S has the same address


European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

Phone: +31 20 520 07 50
Fax: +31 20 520 07 52
Postal Address: EAZA Executive Office
c/o Artis Zoo – Amsterdam
PO Box 20164
1000 HD Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Sign a Petition:
Demand Justice For Marius, a Baby Giraffe Killed in Public By Zoo

Sign a petition to Fire Bengt Holst From the Copenhagen Zoo For Having Marius the Giraffe Killed

Update 12/02/14

Here are more addresses sent to me by my friend in Uruguay that you may wish to write too regarding the death of Marius.

The E-mail address of Bengt Holst

You may want to write to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister Denmark:

Also a petition:

The Copenhagen Zoo, needs to change their horrific policy killing ‘surplus’ animals in their charge and discharge Bengt Holst, directly responsible for the death of 18 month old baby giraffe, Marius.

Here is an article in Psychology Today which you may find very interesting.

What the Copenhagen Zoo did had nothing to do with nature, or science, or animal husbandry, or education, or research. Its actions instead constituted blood sport for human entertainment.

The inhumane and grotesque manner in which this animal was killed had nothing to do with animal management  or science. It is apparent that the killing of Marius was nothing more than a canned hunt-blood sport in the name of animal science. What we learned is that scientists can be truly heartless, seeing living creatures as nothing more than collections of organs to be cut open and put on display.

Over the past 18 months, that zoo benefited financially from the people who came to see the infant giraffe. He deserved a better, more dignified death than that. More than that, he deserved to live.

Extracts From: What We Learned From Marius the Giraffe by Dr. Denise Cummins

Read More:

It might be an idea to include a link to this article if you write to the zoo,  Bengt Holst and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

I think the important thing now is to make sure this does not happen again.

Related Links


4 thoughts on “The Barbaric Slaughter of Marius the Giraffe

  1. Mr. Holst missed out on his era…he sounds as if he would have been right at home, ecstatic even, if he had lived in the 1930s in a country a little south of Denmark. “Best genes”? Mr. Holst is the one who has some obvious and serious deficiencies that are clearly exhibited by his statement.

    Where in hell were the Danish people while this was going on? I’m disappointed greatly in them, I had some fantasy of Denmark, along with maybe Iceland and maybe the Netherlands (Finland?) as being islands of…not enlightenment….less stupidity maybe…of all the human “states” in the world. Denmark just knocked part of that fantasy out.

    It’s all a nightmare.

  2. You’ve used the appropriate words to describe what happened to Marius – it was
    blood sport. Such inhumanity and ignorance that I cannot get it out of my mind even
    though time has elapsed. I keep wondering what is going on in the culture of Denmark
    that such a thing would be acceptable.

  3. I also continue to be shocked by this callous act of inhumanity towards a defenceless creature in their care. The same has happened to other animals in zoos and will sadly continue until we stop incarcerating animals in these awful places. I agree with you that despite the passing of time many people remain shocked by the action of this zoo.

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