- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2014

A Copenhagen zoo is fielding fire after dismembering a healthy and young giraffe — in front of kids — and then tossing the body parts into the lion cages.

The zoo defended its actions as a means of weeding out inbreeds, CNN reported.

“Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes,” said Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo, in the CNN report. “It can only be done by matching the genetic composition of the various animals with the available space. … When giraffes breed as well as they do now, then you will inevitably run into so-called surplus problems now and then.”

An online petition to stop the giraffe’s killing yielded thousands of signatures — but to no avail. Zoo officials said there was no place for “Marius,” as the giraffe was dubbed, in the herd. Moreover, zoo officials said relocating or sterilizing the giraffe was out of the picture.

“If we just sterilize him, he will take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes,” Mr. Holst said, adding that the children who watched the procedure didn’t cry. Rather, the crowd was “very enthusiastic [and] the kids asked good questions.”