My letter to Copenhagen Zoo re: Marius

I'm sure you've all heard about the vile act of cruelty committed by the Copenhagen Zoo: despite protests and petitions, they mercilessly killed young giraffe Marius to feed him to lions - the feeding part occurred in front of people. Including children.

Appalled by this act of barbarity, I decided to write the lovely peeps at Copenhagen Zoo a little email. Obviously, I knew they'd never open it if I wrote BASTARD MURDERERS ROT IN HELL in the subject line, so I disguised my outrage with "opening hours" as a subject (I know, I'm smart like that).

Here's a copy of the email I wrote:

Dear Copenhangen  Zoo team,

...you didn't really think this was an email on opening hours, did you? No, that's just something I put in the subject line to trick you into opening this email. Of course it's about Marius. I doubt that people will email you about anything else these days. And I hope that you read each and every email (even if I know you won't) and take it all in.

I am quite an international lady: I've lived in Los Angeles, Florence, Milan and London, all before the age of 30. But I am from Sweden, and when I tell people this, they often comment on how "forward-thinking" and "respectful" Scandinavian countries seem to be. I've always been proud of that. But now, you've proved everyone wrong. In the days following your horrific act of barbaric cruelty, many of my international friends have contacted me to say "what happened? Isn't Denmark a compassionate, civil, modern-thinking country?" And I have nothing to say to them except "apparently, no".

What you did is inexcusable under every point of view: aside from the fact that you are a zoo, which means that you get paid to keep animals in cages (atrocious per se), there is never an excuse to mercilessly murder a young, healthy animal. Furthermore, there is something profoundly unhealthy about cutting said animal to pieces and feeding him to lions in front of an audience that includes young children (this, of course, is not solely your fault: there must be something mentally wrong with anyone not only willing to witness such an act, but also to subject their children to it. I feel for the children, but am at the same time glad that the animal rights movement will acquire new young members). Plus, a very generous man offered to buy Marius from you - but you preferred to have him destroyed. I have no idea how you sleep at night.

It both saddens and angers me that you subsequently tried to find excuses for what you did. You set a unique example of heartlessness and lack of compassion that I personally have only seen in convicted animal abusers (and I have been an animal rights activist since the age of fifteen). But then I guess making excuses is the only way you can cope - there is nothing that you can do, no apology in the world that can put things right. Or even regain you an ounce of credibility. Your best bet would be to just close down.

And Mr Bengt Holst - I have signed numerous petitions to have you fired. I'm sure that you won't be, but I don't know how you face your friends and family every day. Your act is an example of inexcusable cruelty and horrific barbarity that is part of why the world looks the way that it does. It upsets me that we fight every day to make a change and people like you undo so much good work with just one pistol shot. It's sickening.

I just wanted to let you know how deeply you have let me down as a Scandinavian neighbour citizen, an animal rights campaigner, an anti-speciesist and a human being. I hope your act of cruelty goes down in history as an example of how much is truly wrong with the human race.

Oh - and please stop calling it "euthanasia". I don't know if you've ever heard of a dictionary, but euthanasia means putting to death someone who is terminally ill and has no other choice. Marius was young, healthy and vibrant, with a desire to live. And you know that.

Sascha Mejeritcher
Journalist and copywriter
London, UK


  1. It just makes me cry. A giraffe of all animals. My favourite. I would have taken him! It just makes me speechless. Have they given any public statement??

    1. They have: https://www.facebook.com/zoo/posts/751664461512037

  2. This act sickened me Sascha and good on you for actually writing to them (even if they didn't read it). So many of us where appalled by the murder of this beautiful creature but we didn't actually do anything proactive to voice our disgust.


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