Sunday, 16 February 2014

a giraffe named Marius

On the ninth day of February, in the year two thousand and fourteen, an eighteen-month-old baby giraffe named Marius was murdered.  The world was forever changed.  It will never again be the same.

Little Marius was, by all accounts, a happy and healthy, go-lucky little guy. He even had a favourite snack.  I read in a CNN report that Marius had a particular fondness for rye bread.*  In fact, it was as young Marius was leaning down to snack on some rye bread, that a vet from the Copenhagen Zoo shot him in the head
                                                                                       with a bolt gun.

What followed next was a circus, allowing young children to watch while Marius' body was butchered and fed to lions but that is not what my blog post is about.  My blog post is not about what should or should not have happened to baby Marius' body after death.  Or about who should or should not have been allowed to watch.  Those conversations are designed to muddy the waters, making it impossible for peeps out there to see the true travesty at paw...  THE NEEDLESS DEATH OF BABY MARIUS.

Marius was happy and healthy but genetically, he was unwanted.  Some have said he was inbred but I've been scouring the Internet and that does not appear to be true.  Marius was killed in order to supposedly prevent inbreeding.  In fact, Bengt Holst - the Scientific Director of the Copenhagen Zoo - was quoted as saying that Marius' fate was sealed by a "duty to avoid inbreeding."*  Avoid.  He used the word, avoid.  That clearly means that Marius himself was not inbred.  It would be the next generation where inbreeding might occur if Marius was allowed to father children.  He could have been sterilised.  That would have avoided inbreeding in future generations but the peeps running the Copenhagen Zoo did not want to do that.  Instead, they chose to kill him as, according to Holst, sterilising Marius would mean that he would "take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes." *

Marius could also have been moved to another facility.  Offers by other zoos had been made.  Those offers were ignored.  So-called reasons were given but what struck me was this.  Bengt Holst himself told the BBC that "space at institutions such as the Yorkshire Wildlife Park should be reserved for genetically more important giraffes."**  Well the peeps running the Yorkshire Wildlife Park couldn't have agreed with Holst for had they agreed, they would never have made the offer to take Marius. Why does this Holst guy think he knows more than everyone else?  Why does he think he knows best?  Who appointed him God?  Does he consider himself to be genetically superior to all the other peeps out there?  Is that why he thinks he knows best?

So because Marius' genetics were considered pretty much useless for breeding, the decision was made for Marius to be killed.  Killed.  MURDERED.

The word euthanized has been tossed about.  The Copenhagen Zoo claims that Marius was euthanized.  Was he?  I did some checkin'.  I checked the numerous dictionaries residing here in my office and several on-line ones, too.  In every single instance, euthanasia is defined as basically, a painless method of death for an individual that will prevent future pain to that same individual.  In other words, when a patient is really sick and suffering and has no hope for recovery, that is when killing them becomes euthanasia.  Marius wasn't sick.  Marius wasn't in pain.  Marius didn't have to recover from anything.  Marius wasn't euthanized.  MARIUS WAS MURDERED.

According to media, Marius' fate was not his and his alone.  The Copenhagen Zoo destroys twenty to thirty animals every year.**  They might be bears or maybe zebras or even tigers.  What they all have in common is that they are deemed, by zoo officials, to be surplus.  It is my opinion that at the Copenhagen Zoo, surplus equates to a death sentence.

Officials from the Copenhagen Zoo claim that the decision to end Marius' life was made with the approval of the EAZA...  the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.  I have no reason to doubt this but if true, it leads only to more questions.  Question number one in my mind is, is the killing of surplus animals commonplace at ALL the over three hundred member institutions of the EAZA?  If a baby is deemed to have inferior genetics or if his or her genes are too similar to others of the same species, is that reason to kill said baby?

It appears to me that the murder of Marius has unearthed a dirty little secret in the zoo community.

Zookeepers may have long been practising this sort of genetic extermination for some kind of supposed betterment of species but I'm pretty sure that the peeps out there who visit the zoos didn't know about it.  I'm also pretty sure that many of them are disgusted with the zoos now that they do know.  Member institutions of the EAZA might wanna change their practises if they want peeps to continue payin' to visit their zoos.

YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!  You can't eat your cake and have it, too.  Everybody knows that.

There is a relationship between the animals at the zoo and the people who visit them.  There is a bond.  This bond is encouraged.  It has to be because so many people who visit zoos, want to fall in love with those animals.  They don't just want to see them.  They want to love and adore them.  And it is this bond that develops between the animals and spectators that keeps the spectators coming back.  No bond, no peeps.  No peeps, no tickets sold.  No tickets sold, no paycheck.  Get the picture?

When the peeps running the Copenhagen Zoo killed Marius, they killed a friend to all who had anticipated his birth.  They killed a friend to all who had watched him being cared for by his loving mother.  They killed a friend to all who had such high hopes that he would live out his twenty plus years at that, or another, zoo.

Like I said, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!

My Peep #1 has been sickened over the death of Baby Marius.  She says that every time she sees a picture of those big trusting eyes, her own eyes swell with tears.  She realises that Marius must have trusted his keepers.  Must have been so happy when one of them treated him to his favourite snack.  Just like I'm happy when the peep gives me my favourite treats.  Then she thinks about how Marius was happily munching away on his favourite treat, and enjoying it immensely, when out of nowhere he was shot in the head.  When he was killed.  When Baby Marius was murdered.  My peep's stomach churns and she feels sick, thinking of this.

My peep's reaction to Marius' death is a normal reaction.  She has a heart and a soul and the ability to feel empathy.  She is a human being.  That's why she finds what Bengt Holst condoned, so disgusting and why what the Copenhagen Zoo allowed, repulses her so.

Peep #1 encouraged me to write this blog post for what happened to Baby Marius must never happen again.  No more babies can die in the name of genetics and breeding programs.

Within the last day, CNN has reported that Jyllands Park, also in Denmark, will not be killing a possibly surplus giraffe, also named Marius.***  Jyllands Park now states that the possibility of killing their Marius was based simply on a hypothetical scenario however, a zookeeper at Jyllands Park was quoted as sayin' that they "are completely behind Copenhagen and would have done the same" thing.****  This, just after stating that they would "of course" euthanize their Marius if they had to.


THE KILLING MUST STOP.
IT MUST STOP RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW.

41 comments:

  1. I am totally in agreement with your mom. To heartlessly shoot that giraffe when offers were made for him elsewhere was cold hearted and callous and they probably don't realize that what GOES around will inevitably come around to punish them.

    I have read the name of that Country when other acts of horror against animals have been reported. There are Countries that condone these and other horrible acts.

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  2. Great editorial, Nissy. We have family who works at a zoological park in the states and know that things aren't always what they appear, so we rarely say much about issues like these. However, this seems to have been handled poorly in nearly every way possible.We're afraid that this was the most cost-effective thing for them to do, not the most humane, and if that's true, that's a shameful thing indeed.

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  3. above you said "Zookeepers may have long been practising this sort of genetic extermination for some kind of supposed betterment of species but I'm pretty sure that the peeps out there who visit the zoos didn't know about it."

    Well now we know, don't we. So if Marcus' death was for no other reason then it was not in vain.

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  4. It made Mommy so disgusted when she read about Marius' murder. Period. DISGUSTED.

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  5. That is just horrible. JUst horrible. I hate hearing about this. Wish there was something we could do.

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    1. We can keep Marius' memory alive! That's somethin' we can do, for sure. Let's make sure the world remembers Marius, always, and force the zoos to change their ways for the better. purrs

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  6. I can only hope and pray that our pal Karma visits these evil humans sooner than later.

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  7. Oh my goodness.....this is all so sad :(

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  8. You are right Nissy it was Murder Plain and Simple there was no need to do it when other zoo's here in britain I might add would have given Maurius a home,I hate to say it but this brings back the horrid things that happend in world war to in the name of genetics!,xx Rachel

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    1. Yup, reminded me of that, too. purrs

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  9. This is why our Mummy and Daddy hate zoos...zoos may say that the are doing their bit for endangered species,but then they KILL animals that are 'surplus'.We know of zoo that invited hunters to kill surplus animals. DISGUSTING!
    Er, wouldn't Africa have liked another giraffe?
    The REAL Maple Syrup Mob xxxxx

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  10. I think it's time to admit that zoos are nothing more than entertainment venues for humans, and do nothing to preserve species.

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  11. I just saw that poor little one's photo in the paper and the audience gathered round for the slaughtering. PAST disgusting.

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  12. My human has not been fond of zoos for a long time now, but this sort of put the capper on it for her. :-(

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  13. My mom had meltdown when she read the original article. It is wrong in every way. There were offers out there to take Marius and they turned them down.....what the heck is WRONG with this world?

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  14. I can't believe that poor giraffe was murdered and then people watched as it was fed to other animals! Crazy world :(

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  15. This smacks of the eugenics our peeps parents fought to eradicate. When I hear that kind of talk I fear for all who may not meet the exacting standards of whatever bunch is in power at the moment. The bunch in Copenhagen should be afraid as zoos and those who run them, when the world order changes, may be superfluous and not meet be "genetically important." Frightening.

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  16. Some people just shouldnt be in charge of any animals...

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  17. This is the worst thing I have ever read. Totally shocking and sickening. I'm appalled. Now I wonder if this goes on in our country too and we just don't know about it. Nerissa, thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

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  18. Thus confirming my suspicion that some people SUCK. This is inexcusable behavior.

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  19. We wept for Marius. Poor Marius. Still raw, still painful. Take care
    x

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  20. I wish I knew how many zoo employees had knowledge before hand of the Copenhagen Zoo's and Bengt Holst's (the Scientific Director of the Copenhagen Zoo) plan to murder young Marius? How many knew and didn't speak out? How many others have been murdered without anyone crying out? This time they murdered a defenseless being in front of members of the public and are now having to back-pedal to try to explain this barbaric act. So they try to throw science at us thinking we'll accept that rational and go away. But they don't realize how many of us are not, or love someone who would not be, perfect breeding material. Hopefully Marius' death will shine a bright light on these and other monstrous deeds, causing that dark horror to shrivel up and fade in to our sad history. As has been the case in the past, hopefully now that we have seen this injustice we will put an end to it and Marius will not have died in vain.

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  21. We were horrified to hear about that murder too.
    Just awful.No excuse for it.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure,JJ
    and Angels Tiger and Tillie

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  22. Mom says that she has never heard of such a thing and has no idea if it occurs in North America but intends to find out. Her cousin used to be the Director of the Dallas Zoo in Texas in the USA, and she is going to send him an e-mail. She didn't know this happened and is so sick to read about it. We cannot squander God's creatures, much less in such a heartless manner. Thank you, Nissy, for calling her attention to this. Purrs and paw-pats, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  23. This was one of the most terrible things I have ever heard. I was truly unable to think of anything else for a while. I am so sad about it

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  24. This is just so unbelievably horrible and heart-breaking. Stories like this sadden me profoundly. Blessings and love to the soul and spirit of sweet Baby Marius.

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  25. When we heard about what happened to Marius, it made us sad...and sick. And we hear it may happen again...soon. We must stop this.

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  26. Because of my own little troubles over the past week or ten days, we were only somewhat aware of what happened. Now hearing more about it, we are sickened by this horrific act. Youa re right: Zoos encourage the public to invest emotionally in the animals. When they do something like this, they betray that trust which will ultimately result in people not being so willing to support these same zoos (which, to be fair, do do a lot of good for animal conservation). This was completely incomprehensible.

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  27. I was so disgusted when I read about this on CNN the other day. This is such a disgusting waste of animal life. I am really surprised to hear of this practice because when I get all worked up about declawing cats, I usually hear that European countries have outlawed the practice. Why wouldn't they show mercy to other animals?? Maybe they do, but not enough people know about this practice to outlaw it. Let's hope some zoo-practices are changed because of it. Poor Marius! It is so sad!!!

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  28. This makes me so sad I can barely speak......my heart is broken hearing this story. There's no excuse for such barbaric behavior - EVER. I'm speechless and for me, that's a first.......

    Hugs, Sammy

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  29. We were appalled and still are by such a heinous atrocity! Poor innocent beautiful Marius is in our prayers - unlike the murdering B******s that took his life so unnecessarily when there were plenty of others who would have gladly bought him and taken him away from that Hell of a Zoo - shame on those vile people, Karma will take revenge on your souls for this!

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  30. Marius’ story is a sad one and a disgusting one.
    Zoos are prison. They use baby animals to make money. Visitors like to see babies. They come and spend money to see babies.
    Then babies become grown-up animals ...and they get killed.
    As you said, Marius was murdered.
    And there is no words to qualify the people who went, with their children, to see Marius’ body being butchered.
    I am very sad. We are very sad. My human was crying.
    Ronrons
    Hisia

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  31. I too was horrified by what happened to Marius. That the zoo community turns their heads while Copenhagen murders these animals needlessly is a dirty secret that is now out in the open. Hopefully by blogging and talking about it, and keeping it right out there for all to see...hopefully something will change. But honestly, we all know that the only thing that can change this sad act of violence against defenseless animals is to withhold our dollars, because money is everything to those people. Sadly, Copenhagen doesn't care what we over here in North America thinks. But perhaps if the world keeps talking about what happened to Marius, Copenhagen might think twice about murdering another animal for whatever poor reason they come up with.

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  32. Me is angry! Me hoomin friend signed a petition to stop them from doing it again.

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  33. I will never ever go to another zoo as long as I live I pray this is not happening in the USA yet the way we treat cats and dogs they just might.

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  34. thank you nerissa for letting us know and for having the opportunity to share our mutual sad ness and grief at this tragedy and for calling in the world and causing us to stand UNITED on Marius' behalf. it almost makes me ashamed in the fact of being in the human race . through our continued thoughts and prayers , things will change and possibly Marius' life will not be in vain, be strong and continue to be our eyes and ears to what goes on in your world. <3 <3 <3

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  35. I couldn't agree with you more. For a long time now I have despised the whole zoo/circus/captivity thing. I think that's actually why I'm so fond of cats. They have that free and wild element that a lot of other 'pets' and 'domestic' animals don't have. Thanks for raising the awareness of this sad topic.

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  36. Thank you for speaking up about this, Nissy. We are sickened and angry that these humans -- who are supposed to be stewards and protectors of these animals -- are murdering them when there are clearly other options.

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  37. Mum and I cried when we heard about Marius! And you are right too about the way he was murdered! Can't say any more! You said what all right thinking people thought, Nissy! xox

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  38. Thanks for writing this! You and your Peep #1 are so right about there being a dirty little secret we are now aware of.

    Brenda Williamson & Wilde Oscar
    @BrendaPerrott and @WildeOscarCat

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  39. Thank you for writing this. It is great value. Bengt Holst is hero for who cheered for him. Not with International. He is not worth for this exist/ his position with Zoo. He brainwash to his society.We all know it is wrong. The little innocent Marius was victim of Beng Holst and his gangs. I wish we all can take him to International Humane right court.
    I really hope Beng Holst days are numbers.He must pay the price soon or later.
    Marius.. We all remember you. Justice for Marius will come soon.

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