Peta, the animal rights charity, hit out at Copenhagen Zoo on Tuesday night following the public slaughter of Marius, a one and a half year old giraffe.
Peta claims the animal was born into the zoo with owners knowing it would be considered "surplus". When he was found to be unsuitable for breeding he was shot with a bolt gun and then butchered in front of a crowd before being fed to lions.
The zoo’s actions on Sunday 9 February prompted a huge public outcry and Peta’s protest saw it project an enormous message in lights onto the zoo's entrance.
The message read, "Zoos are animal prisons: You paid the ticket, Marius paid with his life".
"Marius' death should be a wake-up call for anyone who still harbours the illusion that zoos serve any purpose beyond incarcerating intelligent animals for profit", explained Peta UK associate director Mimi Bekhechi. "Although his death is heartbreaking, it's Marius' birth that should have been prevented. I wish we could see this kind of outrage every time an animal is born at a zoo."
Meanwhile, Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst, told Danish TV2 that “the reactions don't change our attitude to what we do” to prevent interbreeding and that the dissection gave the many children who were in the crowd a “huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe”.