ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Culling the Herd - The Vile Murder of a Giraffe

On the way home from work the other day, I listened with growing alarm as Copenhagen Zoo Director Bengt Holst talked about the need to kill a giraffe. The animal wasn't sick. It wasn't in pain. All told, it was in excellent health and had many decades to live. The problem was that the giraffe had sub-standard genes and didn't fit well into the zoo's captive breeding program.

I tried to see it from the zoo's point of view. I tried to give them a fair shake. But the more I listened, the more Herr Holst's words sent shivers  down my spine.

I'd heard and read the same sentiment about another population in the 1930s and 40s-- a human population -- one in which millions were extinguished because of the idea that they were sub-standard.

When asked why the giraffe wasn't placed elsewhere, given to another zoo system, any other alternative than to kill the giraffe, conduct a public autopsy, then feed the meat to the lions, Herr Holst commented that he didn't want the giraffe sent to an un-ethical, substandard zoo or carnival or private estate.


What finally sent me over the edge was when Herr Holst, clearly operating from the same script Zoo spoke's man Stenbeak Bro used when he said the same words to an AP reporter-- '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.' Then Herr Holst went on to almost gleefully say that the 'children who attended the autopsy 'were very fascinated by the wonders of a giraffe.'

 My beautiful blind Great Dane chewing on
a pillow (Photo by Yvonne Navarro)
Holst missed the point. Instead of teaching that a zoo is a safe haven for endangered species, Herr Holst has done what no other Zoo director has accomplished in my lifetime. He's indicated that zoo's are only safe havens for those animals with good genes. All others shall be euthanized. Bad genes equals murder, dismemberment, and exploitation.

As an owner of rescue Great Danes, each with genes so substandard that they were thrown away,
tried to be burned alive, and in one case, shot in the face with a shotgun, the very idea that man has the right to kill any of the creatures on this planet because we deem them as substandard, absolutely infuriates me.

This National Geographic article tries to be unbiased, but you can tell even they were shocked at the murder. One thing they do say, in closing, that certainly resonates is that 'if zoos cannot offer this to the Mariuses in their care, they will lose the public's goodwill, and will deservedly find themselves heading toward extinction.'


  1. At least he did not try to use the "Fierce Creatures" defense, Still I would think most zoos would have welcomed even a "Substandard" Giraffe to insure genetic diversity.

  2. From other sources, I heard that other organizations asked, even begged, that the giraffe be sent to them (most offering to pay for the animal as well as transportation) instead of killing it (and most were licensed, registered zoos in good standing), but the Copenhagen Zoo flatly refused. If the giraffe was 'substandard' for breeding purposes, then neutering it and sending it to another zoo that would appreciate it would (IMHO) be the overall best course. But, as usual, no one listens to me! :-/

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. This is such a shockingly wrong choice. That those responsible for caring for the giraffe chose to kill it is bad enough. That the decision to kill was expanded to the decision to include children as witnesses is horrifying.

    Beyond that, just as the claims of the past regarding "substandard genes" have long since been rejected as not just morally wrong, but factually wrong, I suspect that the determination of Marius' genes as inferior will someday be found wanting.