Jungle Jack Hanna On the Waste of Marius the Giraffe: "Give Me a Friggin' Break!"
Marius the Giraffe vs. Wild Carnivores
Jack Hanna took the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from a mud hole and a dozen ailing animals to the Number One Zoo in the nation.
Hanna, as Director Emeritus, and the zoo directors under his view have maintained that zoos are for educating the public to love and save animals and for breeding for purposes of saving endangered species. Saving injured animals and those captured around human habitats in the state is also part of the larger mission.
Jack is so serious about his job and mission that he agreed to wear his Jungle Jack Hanna clothing at all times in public, even to attend church, as friends of mine have witnessed. They admire him and his work and so do I. I agree with many of his opinions.
Jungle Jack reiterated his and the zoo's position on the John Korby Show on 610 WTVN Radio on the afternoon of Monday, February 10, 2014. He and his family had been awake all night after he heard of the dispatch of Marius the Giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo.
Marius was not a wild carnivore loose in a human neighborhood and rabied or otherwise unmanageable. He was only a gentle 18-month-old. If there were "too many" of him, why did the Copenhagen Zoo not eliminate him at birth? Their staff speaks of natural parenting and animal life, but tricking the animal with food and killing it is not natural - or, perhaps it is for some humans.
Copenhagen Zoo did not participate in the circle of life. They turned it into a cyclotron.
The Larger Warning
Many voices have warned the world that any organization, even a government, that treats its animals and weaker members of human society badly is a danger to all members of that society.
How many times have we heard in America pleas for sterilizing or "sending back to the Old World" certain segments of the population? How many proposals have called for the destruction of Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy babies in utero? -- Some of my best friends have Cerebral Palsy.
The psychiatric hospitals around the nation have largely been shut down, with the result of 1,000s of unmarked graves being found on their grounds. Who were those unfortunates?
Senior Citizens who are not millionaires are mistreated in the USA every day, some fatally.
Marius Was Not a Danger - He Was "Surplus"
In October 2010, Hanna helped contain wild animals released in Eastern Ohio by a suicidal man who owned them. At that time, Jack stated that for the safety of people in the area and because the darkness of night in the rural countryside made it impossible to catch the animals, that they were largely eliminated by rifle fire.
A few of the animals were captured and held in quarantine. However, the Marius case was nothing like the Eastern Ohio tragedy.
On the radio, Hanna spoke of the language used in emails, Tweets and on Facebook to him and his zoo about the Marius case, stating that some was not repeatable on the air.
As most know by now, zoo staff lured the animal with food, shot it in the back of the head with a bolt gun, and dissected it in front of an audience. Parents had the right to take their children away from the scene, but many did not and that is their free choice. I do hope that people watching found educational value -- Even chef, writer, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain does not want to watch an animal killed and butchered and then eat it. I have seen the action in American slaughterhouses and injuries to slaughterhouse employees as well. These things are horrendous and American slaughterhouses could be improved.
In another aspect, an uncle took my Easter chick one year, raised it, and then informed me that it had been mine after he fed it to me and laughed. I never trusted him. Rightly so, because he was abusive, having been abused by his own father, who had been abused by his family and farm hands - but, even though Marius was a food animal in Africa, he was used as a publicity display in his dissection and feeding to lions. See how much publicity the Copenhagen Zoo received!
Jack Hanna's final take on the subject was asking the question of whether the Copenhagen Zoo abused Marius in order to make a name for themselves and garner publicity. He felt that they certainly did accomplish this goal. So much so, in fact, that Jack and the Columbus Zoo would want nothing to do with that zoo or any other zoo that is a member of the European Zoo Association. He seemed to feel that perhaps cultural differences were an excuse for the publicity and for denying harm to the American public and all others who protested.
At one point in discussing inbreeding and regulations against selling or giving Marius away with John Korby, Jack's comment was finally, "Give me a friggin' break!" I feel that same anger and unbelief.
Sometimes, Laws Need To Be Ignored
In the Terry Schiavo case, I hoped President George W. Bush would send in the active Armed Forces or the National Guard and air lift Terry from the hospice where her husband - already living with another woman and fathering her children - wanted her to die. In fact, he listed a date years earlier as her date of death on her tombstone. Her parents made the mistake of allowing him custody and power of attorney over her, thereby locking her into the legal rights of the husband who wished her dead. I feel that she was murdered with legal consent, because these vegetative patients sometimes regain health.
In the Marius case, I am surprised that protesters led by a person of means did not break into the zoo or at least protest at the gate and demand the custody of Marius at a fair price, since there has been such an uprising over his death.
People like to protest in using their free speech, but I think the Marius case is a case of publicity seeking, cultural differences (which I uphold), aside.