Animal Torah 101

free-giraffe-face-and_274898Friends, please visit the eclectic Rabbis Without Borders blog at My Jewish Learning for the full text of the following post (yes, written by me) about animal activism 101. 

Last week, the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark killed a healthy two year-old giraffe named Marius. Zoo staff dissected Marius’s body in front of visitors, calling it “an educational program.” They stored Marius’s meat to be fed to large carnivorous mammals.

Without a context, this story is horrifying. In fact, zoo staff members have received death threats.

But there is a context, important in the world of zoos. Zookeepers responsibly try to prevent overpopulating a zoo or inbreeding a small herd. In the U.S., zoos rely on contraceptives, rarely killing healthy animals. European zoos, however, criticize American practice as unnatural and unhealthy in the long term. Thus, in Europe, the average professionally run zoo kills five large mammals per year.

From a Jewish perspective, should this context quell your horror? Not necessarily.

Giraffes, you may be surprised to learn, are kosher animals. Continue…

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    1. Thank you! As Ruth Messinger of AJWS says, “Every signature on every petition makes a difference.”

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