Are we honoring ALL life forms?

In the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, several school children and families gathered around to watch the body of a perfectly healthy baby giraffe named Marius be skinned and chopped up before being fed to the lions.  According to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Marius was genetically too similar to the other giraffes in its breeding program. Because captive animals are bred from a limited gene pool, zoos are monitored to prevent inbreeding and ensure the health of future generations.


Despite protests, online petitions, rescue offers, and tenders of up to $680,000 from outside sources hoping to spare Marius’s young life, this peaceful 18-month-old giraffe was deemed “surplus” by the zoo administrators and sentenced to death with a bolt gun.   Lethal injection would have contaminated the flesh, making its carcass unusable and inedible.

A spokesman from the Copenhagen Zoo said parents were given the option to decide whether their children should watch what they have labeled “an important display of scientific knowledge about animals.”  Many parents thought the butchering of this baby giraffe was an experience that their children would benefit from watching.  And just as families are known to gather alongside the street to watch a parade, these parents gathered together and encircled the horrific event with their kids at their sides, some grimacing, some taking photos.

“I’m actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn’t have had from watching a giraffe in a photo,” Tobias Stenbaek Bro told The Associated Press.

Bengt Holst, the zoo’s scientific director, compared the situation to the way parks cull deer to keep the whole population healthy.  He said, “Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do, you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes. The most important factor must be that the animals are healthy physically and behaviorally and that they have a good life while they are living, whether this life is long or short.”

According to Danish media, Copenhagen Zoo destroys 20-30 animals a year, including bears, tigers and zebras.  Elisa Allen, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the U.K., said Marius’ case should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who “still harbors the illusion that zoos serve any purpose beyond incarcerating intelligent animals for profit.”

Undoubtedly, this story is stirring up strong feelings and igniting conversations around the world over whether the zoo’s actions were cruel, unnecessary, and inhumane, and also whether the young children who witnessed the slaughtering of Marius experienced it as an “educational opportunity” or something much more alarming and life-changing.

Within the messages of Conversations With God, we were told that “you shall know that you have taken the path to God, and you shall know that you have found God, for there will be these signs, these indications, these changes in you” – The 10 Commitments.  Number 5 in those Commitments is the following:

“You know you have found God when you observe that you will not murder (that is, willfully kill, without cause).  For while you will understand that you cannot end another’s life in any event (all life is eternal), you will not choose to terminate any particular incarnation, nor change any life energy from one form to another, without the most sacred justification.  Your new reverence for life will cause you to honor all life forms – including plants, trees and animals – and to impact them only when it is for the highest good.”

When we intentionally kill a baby giraffe – or any life form, for that matter – because it no longer enhances the gene pool, does that serve the highest good?  When we teach our children that some forms of life are more important or less important than other life forms, does that serve the highest good?  When we demonstrate to our children that “less valuable” or “surplus” life forms are easily and uncaringly disposed of, does that serve the highest good?  What is the highest good in this situation?   Are we able to stretch our spiritual understandings far enough and wide enough to see what that highest good or sacred justification may actually be?

Your thoughts?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

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  • Erin

    Boy, talk about stirring the human stew!
    In Nature, gene-pool is a priority…’The Love of the many outweighs the Life of the few, or the one’, is rule of thumb…It is truly an epitome of Common-Sense beingness. Kind of Spartanistic, but it has ‘worked wellness’ since the dawn of Creation. Enter human to screw stuff up with their arrogant ‘intelligence’, their scientific methodologies, and love of being Numero Uno above the Nature they were borne into.

    We, as human, measure success by length of life, not quality of living…unlike every other specie on this planet. We entertain our hopes through other’s struggles of their challenges…Heck, we have built economic strong-holds around them, and use them as we would lab rats to ‘grow’…We even provide parking spaces to show our appreciation. We define ‘humane’ by how we can ‘save’ a naturally aborting fetus, even though the babe & it’s family will suffer immensely by such ‘grace’…In process, the strong-hold is both put on a prosperous pedestal & ensures it’s continuance through like ‘survivors’.

    It would be my guess that the witnessing children were both dazed, amazed, & incited to See their adult guiders for what they are being. No doubt, it gave All opportunity to think…deeper than their previous moment. Only time will show what those thoughts create henceforth.

    Oh, but what of the Stephen Hawkings of our kind? FYI, Mr. Hawkings is using his magnificent brain capacity to create himself a new body, to end his own suffering…the consequences of his science may be fuelling wealthy others, but that is irrelevant to his quest. His science may end up being the entire demise of Life as we know it, but this is ‘Okay’…the man is on a mission, and it is a very profitable one, indeed. Is he being ‘humane’?

    All ‘challenged’ people become frustrated by their suffering…as do those close to them…is this truly ‘humane’? Is it the wisest course of being human to embrace Love as reason to hold onto a deformity of kind, rather than to set it Free? Hmmm…Wonderous food for thought!

    • Blake

      The baby giraffe is a highly evolved being (HEB) and as CWG
      Book 3 states a HEB would gladly give up its life to a lower form (Human) to
      remind them that life is unending and death exists not.


      • Gina

        Hi, Blake. A giraffe cannot be considered more highly evolved life form than humans because it is giving up its life for humans.
        Humans have the ability to be aware of that they are self-aware. The giraffe don’t have this reflective self-awareness. That’s why it’s the human that are tampering with the ecology and genetic pool and sentient creatures in this case. It’s only the humans that can be asked of accountability- if the action is according to functionality, adaptability, and sustainability. If it is the right representation of who they are.

        • Blake

          Animals are Pure Souls. Humans are not. Humans kill each other because humans beleive
          that God wants them to. Pure Souls kill to sustain themselves and certainly not for
          perfection of a gene pool.


          • Gina

            True. Compared to Marius, humans are the plague upon the earth . I’m ashamed of my species every time I hear a news story like this. The word zoo is sickening, concept of anatomy and zootomy as well, in how they are really misguided in trying to learn life through killing and from the dead meat.

          • Blake

            It’s good they are allowing children to watch the slaughter I feel the result will turn out against the zoo and its patronage.


  • Michael L

    Are we barbarians…of course. So why do we even blink at the thought…the strongest or fittest will continue the gene pool. The lions that eat the Giraffe are part of the cycle of life. And as CWG says no living 3d thing dies without it wanting to,,, in some form or the other.

    That being said, raise up… when can we get to our highest form of love to not have to even have other carnivores eat other animals. Like in the movie Lion King Simba (a lion) was eating slugs and worms and bugs. Lets create that kind of world, shall we!!

    • So how does intention come into play here? Is a lion eating a bug or a slug less egregious or barbaric than eating an antelope? If so, why? Does a human’s ability to reason and apply cognitive function to its actions separate it in any way from other life forms who only kill to eat, and only do so when they need to, and only take as much as they need at any given time? Do these characteristics place us, human beings, in more of a steward role on our planet? Just some ideas that came to mind, Michael. Thank you for being here!

      • Michael L

        Hi Lisa,
        I don’t believe in egregious for most things.
        As Marko said I would think that slugs and bugs would feel honored to give up their form, for the greater good of higher beings most of the time.
        I was suggesting that as a step by step path to just eating seeds and flowers, slugs and bugs whould be a step in all animals living in harmony.
        Thanks for the your unique perspective on this issue. Compassion expanded is always “good”.

      • Blake

        And everything is alive and everything is pure soul and the all feeds on the all as everything is nourished as the grand result of everything lives forever nothing is damaged everything changes. It matters not.


  • We spay & neuter cats & dogs for a greater benefit. They couldn’t do that to this giraffe?

    If the killing was humane this is what would be important to me. Not to be humane would be very questionable.

    There’s another level here & that’s actually talking to the animals themselves. There are people who are called animal communicators & they work with domestic & wild animals to get their thoughts & feelings on matters. For those open to such things that’s another possibility.

    I took a workshop with world renowned animal communicator and author Penelope Smith some years back. I remember her telling me that when she was at the Findhorn Foundation a story about asking animals if they could be eaten. In this case it was goats and the answer that the goats gave varied from animal to animal.

    Some said “No” others said “Not now but later.” Some said “Yes & would be honored to give their lives to people who were so respectful to the animals wishes.

    Thank you Lisa for bringing attention to this issue.


  • Inge Verbeeck

    I am from Belgium living in Spain. I am SHOCKED . In Europe we have zoos ,when they have a animal that is not good to bread they bring it to another zoo . I am thinking now what about the mother giraffe she went true a lot to bringing this baby in to the world and than she may look how they killed her son . When will we have respect for other live forms ? When will we stop thinking that we are the best ?From a animal lover hoe rescued a lot of animals in Spain .

  • Gina

    The highest good in my opinion would be to accept the offer from other organizations or, as Marko pointed out, to keep the animal from reproducing. We adults are so insensitive and ignorant about what is actually going through the mind of our children. Supposing children would be “educated” on the anatomy of a giraffe in a situation like this shows sheer ignorance, naivety and spiritual laziness as to not having the slightest idea how children see and access direct knowing.
    The far stretched spiritually beneficial conclusion would be to eliminate all zoos.

  • Debra O’Bryant Haworth

    It deeply saddens me that we have devolved in our evolution so much that this has even taken place. We are all living beings whose desire for food, safety, family, love is all the same. It’s like one member of my beloved family brutally and for no reason other than the shear desire, willingly murder another beloved family member. So so unnecessary and heartbreaking.

  • Wendy Midgett

    Please, I would like to possibly add a deeper prospective on this issue…why the need for any zoo to exist?