Feb. 9 - Ignoring pleas from animal rights activists, the Copenhagen zoo kills a young giraffe and feeds its carcass to lions, citing space and inbreeding rules. Gavino Garay reports.
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**PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Ignoring a storm of criticism from animal rights activists...the Copenhagen zoo goes though with its plan to kill and butcher a young healthy giraffe, named Marius.
The zoo defended its decision, saying the 18-month-old giraffe had to be put down because of a lack of space.
It says it also had to comply with rules on in-breeding to ensure a healthy giraffe population.
(SOUNDBITE) (Danish) VETERINARIAN, MADS BERTELSEN, SAYING:
"This giraffe walked out here at quarter past nine, it was let out into its yard over there. Then there was a zookeeper with some rye bread. It really likes rye bread, and he said 'here you go Marius, here is some rye bread'. I stood behind with a rifle, and when he put his head forward and ate the rye bread, then I shot him through the brain. It sounds violent, but it means that Marius had no idea of what was coming. He got his bread, then he died."
Graphic handout video from the zoo shows the veterinarian butchering the animal in front of children.
A British zoo had offered to give Marius a home, and even started an online petition to save the giraffe.
It gathered more than 25,000 signatures, but that wasn't enough to save him.
The zoo said his carcass will be fed to its lions, polar bears and tigers.
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