Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The giraffe who was fed to the lions

It seems people are up in arms about a recent news story about a giraffe who was killed & fed to the lions at a zoo. The facts of the story, as shared by the media, are this. A completely healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius was purposely killed with a bolt gun to the head by a Danish zoo for reasons of avoiding inbreeding. The giraffe was then both autopsied & dismembered in front of a live audience of adults & children, and then the dismembered giraffe was fed to the lions, tigers, and leopards in the zoo.

Marius, 2 days before he was killed (photo courtesy of CNN)
Sounds pretty egregious to most people.  The headlines have made it a story that has become sensational.  CNN's own headline reads: "Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions."

It's an interesting animal story to me, but what's even more interesting is the reaction people have to this story.  Here are just a few snippets:

"That is just disgusting to kill an animal for no reason."
"...to take a life for no reason shows how little life means to this zoo..."
"What a despicable act..."
"Absolutely horrific!  There needs to be an investigation into this horrible act of cruelty."

I am absolutely astounded at these reactions, and I'll tell you why.  These same people will turn right around and eat chicken or cows or pigs for lunch that come from the most horrific conditions I've ever heard of in my life.  These same people are worried about the death of ONE animal, yet millions of animals are needlessly killed all over the world for the satisfaction of a diet most people on this earth choose - to be meat eaters.

photo courtesy of facebook.com/vegansidekick

As I've said before, I am a vegan for health reasons.  I believe it is the healthiest diet I can eat and one that, if we all chose it, would extend the quality of lives for us all & make us a more compassionate species.  However, even among vegans, I am in the minority.  Most vegans stop eating meat for animal rights reasons.  In fact, PETA would probably say I'm not a true vegan because animal rights don't come into the equation for me.  That's alright - they can think that.  I still sleep at night knowing I'm making the best choices for my health & for the planet.

Back when I was a vegan virgin, I did a LOOOOOOT of reading on veganism & how to make it workable for me.  When I say a LOT, I'm talking something like 20 books & several documentaries in that first month.  What I learned is that you can't pick up any book or watch any documentary on veganism without at least one section dedicated to animal cruelty.  And then most books have whole long diatribes on animal cruelty that are very interesting and eye-opening to read.  So even though I did not start being a vegan for animal rights reasons, it has certainly been something that I have eagerly learned about and am, thus, appalled by in our society.

photo courtesy of renovatingyourmind.com

I believe most people, if they knew the facts of what happens in the animal industry, would not support this industry, and in fact, would be equally appalled by it.  It is based in cruelty & inhumanity, all in the name of providing meat to humans to eat.  People don't even realize the cruelty they are supporting, even if we have the best of intentions.  Back when I was a meat eater, I was then appalled by the thought of even *thinking* of eating veal because of the horrible conditions these baby cows are raised, only to find that for every glass of milk I drank (and I drank plenty in my day), I was supporting the veal industry, which is a direct byproduct of the milk industry.  These are the things we only learn when we seek the information to learn it.

Eating is a very personal thing for most people, myself included.  I don't talk much publicly about my choice to be a vegan (that's what this blog is for), because it stirs up in people a lot of emotions & reactions.  I learned that the hard way.  What started out as a friendly discussion amongst 4 co-workers in the break room about eating meat quickly turned ugly as one co-worker got outraged at a comment I made about meat being a contributor to cancer.  He personally attacked me about things not even related to being vegan & then stormed out of the room.  I obviously unknowingly pushed a button with him, and for that, I was very sorry.  I learned, though, that sometimes, even in the best of circumstances & with people you trust, people sometimes aren't really ready to converse on friendly terms about either the benefits or the repercussions of eating meat.

 photo courtesy of veganaroundtheworldnetwork.com

Congrats if you've made it down to here in this blog post.  That means what I wrote about so far didn't scare you off.  I appreciate your hanging in there with me on this.  It's a subject that is hard to read about but is not nearly taken as seriously as we as a society should take it, and when I see the hypocrisy in comments made about the "unnecessary & absolutely horrific killing of a giraffe" yet not a word about the unnecessary & horrific killing of the animals these same people ate for lunch, it gets to me.

photo courtesy of libertystickers.com

Whatever you choose, do it with consciousness and knowing what it is you're affecting.  Educate yourself.  Watch those documentaries.  If you're a meat eater, do it consciously, knowing what is going on behind the curtain of the animal industries.  Choose meat from a source that you trust.  Or just eat less meat.  It'll do you, your health, the earth, & your fellow animals good.

Peace, my friends.  :)


  1. I completely understand and totally see your point but I am on the fence. I wish I could eat kinder, i.e. raise my own meat or by farm fed but I get attached therefore can't eat what I raise and will never be able to convince my parents to change their ways and by the farm fed. I know I could go with Mom to buy the groceries and buy what I prefer but the lazies set in and for that I am ashamed. (I absolutely loathe any kind of shopping). Not really that good of an excuse but there you have it. :-)

    1. Hank, thanks for continuing to read my blog posts. :) No shame allowed! I understand people have different reasons for eating the way they do, and I'm cool with that. You included. Just a warning, though....when you come visit, I'll going to fill you up with goooood vegan food!

  2. Nicely written. As you know, I'm a meat eater, but I try to buy from cleaner sources. I sometimes fail at that, often because of pricing and availability, but avoiding CAFOs is always in the back of my head.
    One of the things I do when I cook is to make something good with the ingredients - at least recognize and honor the lives that went into the meal.
    And the giraffe, at least it went back into the food chain. If it had been running on the plains of Africa, that's where it would have ended up anyways.

    1. I hear you, Beau. I respect you for being conscious of where your meat comes from & honoring the animals' lives in cooking something good. That's an extra step I don't hear about often. Now that I'm cooking & eating more cleanly, I feel more of a connection with the food I use, and I regularly give a moment of thanks. It feels good. :) (Hey, this has planted a seed for a future blog post....thanks!)