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Letter: Zoo giraffe deserved better

A healthy young giraffe named Marius who was

A healthy young giraffe named Marius who was shot dead and autopsied in the presence of visitors to the gardens at Copenhagen zoo on Feb. 9, 2014 despite an online petition to save it signed by thousands of animal lovers. Credit: Getty Images / Keld Navntoft

The story of Marius, a giraffe that was shot and fed to the lions at a Danish zoo, is very sad. The Copenhagen Zoo appeared stunned at the uproar caused by its decision to slaughter a healthy, 2-year-old giraffe whose only fault was that his genes were already well represented among the giraffe population in European zoos.

The argument appears to be that if Marius were in the wild, he quite possibly could have wound up as dinner for a pride of lions. Danish zoo officials miss the point. Marius spent his life in a zoo. He never experienced the freedom that a wild giraffe in the African grasslands enjoys.

The trade-off for Marius is that humans guaranteed him a life of safety and steady meals. He didn't know he had a contract with humans, but the humans did. Shame on them for failing him.

Patti Amend, Deer Park