COPENHAGEN: Marius the Giraffe

I’m sure you have heard Denmark in the news lately for something other than the Goldman Sachs deal and their underwhelming performance in the Olympics thus far.

Due to concerns of in-breeding in the captive population, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a giraffe. They then proceeded to invite spectators to watch an autopsy being performed on the deceased animal. On top of this, they also announced that they would feed the giraffe to the lions…in front of children!

How awful does that read? Pretty bad.

I can almost maybe make an attempt to understand why Marius the giraffe was killed in terms of the international breeding program, but the public display of the event is puzzling to me. 

Could this be due to the Danes lacking that feeling of needing to be politically correct all the time?

As an American I am shocked that such a thing would occur at a zoo. I can only imagine my childhood trip to the zoo being destroyed by watching a giraffe devoured by the lions. However, as an American who has been living in Denmark for 6 months, I can make an attempt to see where they were coming from.

The zoo probably figured they were simply following the guidelines of the international breeding program, and were being educational and economical by using the deceased giraffe for research and lion food.

As for the children, I believe the Danish culture strives to teach children how to be independent and intuitive from an early age. Examples of this include things as simple as how preschoolers are unsupervised as they put their coats on in the wardrobe room. I definitely remember my preschool teachers zipping my coat and holding my hand as we made the short walk from the classroom to the playground.

Another interesting thing I found out recently is that a lot of children’s cartoons touch on politics, social issues etc. The only valuable information I gained from SpongeBob was that you never want to be caught in Rock Bottom.

Over dinner last night I discussed the ordeal with my visiting mom, Mette, who happens to have the zoo in her backyard. She explained to me that the killings happen all the time as a result of allowing the animals to breed naturally. She didn’t understand why Danes were upset about the killing of Marius when there are few complaints about the millions of pigs killed every year.

I once read that there are twice as many pigs as there are people in Denmark!

Anyways, I really don’t think Marius should have died and I think I may have been in Denmark for a little too long because I can quickly rationalize why the event occurred from a Danish perspective.