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Carnism

Who were the lions eating yesterday?

Who were the lions eating yesterday?

Posted 14 February 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: zoos, giraffes, exotic animals, Melanie Joy, carnism

Maybe you've already heard… A few days ago, a healthy 2-year-old giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo, named Marius, was killed. The zoo decided they didn't have space for him. So he was shot in the head and his body was fed to the lions - in front of a crowd of spectators.

Marius's death has shocked people all around the world and has raised some big questions: Is the real reason Marius was killed that he was no longer cute enough to attract visitors to the zoo? Do zoos really have a role to play in conservation or do they just profit from confined animals? (There are some thought provoking answers to these questions here and here.)

But the question that jumped out at me when I heard about Marius's death was this: Who were the lions eating yesterday?

It's always tragic to see a young healthy animal, like Marius, killed. He deserved to live a full happy life, just as we all do. But like Marius, the pigschickens or cows who were fed to the lions yesterday would have also been young and healthy. They may not have been as exotic, and they probably didn't have a name, but does that make them any less deserving of our concern?

With people the world over understandably saddened and outraged by what happened to Marius, I hope this is an opportunity for us to reconsider how we view all animals - to recognise that they all have the ability to feel joy and seek pleasure, just as they all have the ability to suffer.

So why, as a society, do we seem to care more about the well-being of some animals than others? I don't know anyone who can answer that question better than Melanie Joy. If you haven't seen her presentation 'Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat' it's certainly worth a watch:

I would love to hear your thoughts about Marius's death and Melanie Joy's talk in the comments below :)

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