Two alarming animal things happened over the weekend, and the conflation of the dual mendacities against human nature leads us to recognize we are not really a wholly civilized world where the weaker among us in the animal world are cared for and protected as we expect them to care for us.
First, Marius, a two-year-old Reticulated Giraffe, was killed by the Copenhagen Zoo — the very entity vested and sworn to protect him — and he was fed to lions because Marius’ genetic stream wasn’t special enough to earn continued living:
The cause of death was a shotgun blast, and after a public autopsy, the animal, who was 11 feet 6 inches, was fed to the zoo’s lions and other big cats.
Administrators said they had decided to kill Marius, who was in good health, because his genes were well represented among the captive giraffe population in European zoos. But that explanation did not satisfy animal rights activists who had mounted a furious last-minute campaign to save him.
I understand animal lives and human lives are provided various niches of importance and meaning, and the more special you are, the better chance you have of propagating yourself into the future; but I think the universal outrage over Marius’ untimely death is the tone and method in which the zoo decided to kill him and leave him for dead.
If the zoo really wanted a spectacle, why not just put Marius alive in the lion’s den and let nature take its course? Isn’t that more true to the nature of nature to let nature attack instead of giving Marius a shotgun blast to the head and dumping his carcass in a pen?
Why take the easy way out with gunpowder? Let the lions have at him alive, and invite all the children in Copenhagen to watch the spectacle live from a ringside seat. Make sure to give them towels to wipe away the blood and tissues to dab at their young tears.
I can tell you I wouldn’t want to give much support to the Copenhagen Zookeepers who killed Marius. They’re in it for the easiest path that won’t lessen their day, and not the proper, if not rougher, higher moral road. It’s disappointing that Marius’ keepers believe “dominion” means “kill.”
In New York City, the cruelty news doesn’t get much better as cops broke up a Cockfighting ring of 3,000 animals in Jamaica, Queens:
Five people were charged after investigators raided a bloody late-night cockfight in the squalid basement of a vacant Queens storefront where birds waiting for later rounds were kept in sacks hanging from the walls, officials said on Sunday.
The raid, conducted on Saturday and led by investigators from the New York State attorney general’s office, smashed a cockfighting ring that held brutal fight nights in the basement twice a month, witnesses and officials said. Investigators also arrested a Brooklyn pet shop owner who they said had taken birds to the fights in Woodhaven, Queens, near the Brooklyn border. Then on Sunday, investigators stormed a farm in Plattekill, N.Y., about 150 miles northwest of New York City in upstate Ulster County, where they said birds had been raised and trained. They said they found more than 3,000 birds in cages there.
In all three places, investigators said, they found birds that had been altered to inflict maximum damage in the ring. Court documents said that in the basement in Queens, 65 roosters were found with their natural spurs clipped off and with sharper metal spurs attached to their bodies. In all, eight of those arrested were charged with felonies.
We are momentarily outraged by cockfights in our backyards and by the killing of a young giraffe in a faraway place — yet the wounding and the hurt we claim never seems to last very long, and that hurts all of us in the long run.
Sure, the next Justin Bieber story will momentarily break and help us feel better about ourselves, and less about Marius and his feathered brothers, but what so many of us fail to confess is that we’re all Marius, tarred in feathers with sharpened spurs waiting to attack — never defend! — as we bide our time waiting for DNA results to tell us if we’ve earned another day of caged misery, or if we’re finally going to be set free with a shotgun blast to the brain and then fed to our nearest, most natural, captors in waiting.