A Young Giraffe At The Copenhagen Zoo Was Publicly Killed And Fed To Lions

"I don't think anyone would have lifted an eyebrow if it was a pig," a spokesman said.

Marius, an 18-month-old giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, was killed and dissected in front of zoo visitors this morning, in order to prevent the giraffes from inbreeding.

A spokesman for the zoo said that there were already a lot of giraffes with genes similar to Marius in the zoo's international breeding program, according to Time.

Many people attempted to save the animal — more than 20,000 signed an online petition, two zoos said they would take him, and an individual offered 500,000 euros to stop the killing, but the zoo anesthetized Marius then killed him with a bolt pistol.

Visitors, including families with children, were invited to watch while technicians performed an autopsy. The giraffe was skinned, dissected, broken down, and eventually fed to the zoo's lions.

Zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said the option to watch the giraffe being fed to the lions, a "display of scientific knowledge," was popular with visitors.

Many organizations were disturbed by the highly publicized killing, with Animal Rights Sweden releasing a statement that Marius' death highlights what the group believes is a normal treatment for animals in zoos.

Holst disagreed with the sentiment. "I know the giraffe is a nice looking animal, but I don't think there would have been such an outrage if it had been an antelope, and I don't think anyone would have lifted an eyebrow if it was a pig," he said.