Monday, February 10, 2014

Bolt Guns as Euthanasia

More information has come to light on the slaughter and butchering of Marius the young healthy giraffe killed Sunday by the Copenhagen Zoo in order to protect the genetic purity of its herd of giraffes. The Zoo contends in its defense that this final solution was necessary to ensure he didn't pass his genes on later generations. The Zoo claims that Marius was euthanized. However it has come to light that he was 'euthanized' by the use of a device called variously a bolt gun and a captive bolt gun. The latter is more descriptive of the process of 'euthanizing' the soon to be dead creature. The captive bolt gun does not actually kill its victim. It is analogous to the use of a sledge hammer. It does not shoot anything into the brain, the bolt is held captive by the gun and is reused again and again.
The gun was invented in 1903 and is used in slaughterhouses to stun and concuss the animal before it is skinned and dismembered. The device is powered by either compressed gas or by a blank set off by a firing pin which slams a bolt toward the forehead of the creature being turned into hamburger or in this case lion food. It does not kill the creature it merely causes a skull fracture and a consequent concussion and a lack of consciousness.
In simple English what this means is Marius was hit in the forehead by a piece of metal hard enough to cause him to black out or simply to see stars, we don't know which since this device has not yet been tested on the director of the Copenhagen Zoo. Immediately thereafter and presumably while still alive Marius was skinned and the process of butchering him begun. I am amazed at the abuse of the English language that occurs when this process is called euthanasia.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Butchering an Inconvenient Giraffe

Marius, a healthy 2-year-old male giraffe living at the Copenhagen Zoo has been euthanized; his body cut up and fed to the lions” so wrote National Public Radio this morning on its website. Those are pretty shocking words to hear or read. Euthanized? Really? What on earth was good about this death? That was a totally inappropriate word to use about this horrible event. The animal was killed. That animal was killed impliedly in public view of spectators and television cameras according to the author of the article. The giraffe was then skinned and butchered and fed to the Zoo's lion pride. I wonder if the Zoo was crass enough to sell tickets to this savage spectacle.
According to the article there was no room in the herd for this beautiful creature. They didn't want to give him away or lend him to some other zoo. They turned down offers to care for the creature. They turned down an offer from an undisclosed private person to pay the zoo almost seven hundred thousand dollars for the creature. That may or may not have a good decision. However declining that offer did not leave the Copenhagen Zoo with no alternatives other than slaughtering and butchering the animal for the benefit of the Zoo's lion pride. The justifications for the slaughter of the giraffe urged by the Copenhagen Zoo are almost laughable though. Preservation of the integrity of the gene pool could have been accomplished simply by excising the creature's testicles or otherwise preventing him from breeding. Removing him from the Zoo's herd and still preserving genetic diversity could have been accomplished simply by transferring it intact to another facility where his genes could be passed into another genetic pool. That would preserve some amount of diversity in the pool and prevent the donee institution from perhaps slaughtering one of its giraffes for the reasons urger in Copenhagen.
After reading the article and comments of Zoo management I am left with the feeling that this creature was slaughtered and butchered simply for the convenience of the Zoo or that the Zookeeper is truly a psychopathic personalty.