Marius - a doe-eyed, perfectly healthy, 18-month-old giraffe - has been munching in his stall, blissfully unaware that he is about to face his executioner on Sunday, says the BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Copenhagen.

Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Danish zoo, said Marius's genes were already well represented among giraffes at the zoo.

He could not understand the fuss Marius's impending destruction had generated, pointing out that, for instance, 700-800 deer are killed every year at a deer park north of Copenhagen to control their numbers.

Marius is due to be killed by a bolt gun. The zoo will not use a lethal injection, because that would contaminate the meat.

The zoo plans to dissect the animal after it has been killed, before feeding it to the tigers and other carnivores.

"It would be absolutely foolish to throw away a few hundred kilos of meat," Mr Holst said according to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. "Some is used for research and the rest for food."

Animal rights campaigners have described the move as barbaric and have accused the zoo of being unethical.

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"SURPLUS" Giraffe named Marius  at Copenhagen Zoo. They used a BOLT gun on this baby and now will feed his meat to their carnivores.  Other Zoo's had offered to rehome the Giraffe! Around 9 am Feb 9th 2014 the Copenhagen Zoo KILLED their baby Giraffe. PLEASE PLEASE, leave a comment on their FB-page...  LINK:                                …

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