Local zoo speaks out about European giraffe death

By WEEK Producer

February 10, 2014 Updated Feb 11, 2014 at 11:16 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- An animal rights debate is spreading across the world, all the way to the Peoria Zoo. 

Copenhagen Zoo officials put down a healthy, two year old giraffe on Sunday. They say they could not keep Marius the giraffe because of European rules to avoid in-breeding. Attempts to find him a new home also failed.     

After he was killed zoo officials performed a public autopsy and fed parts of the animal to the lions.
 
Back here in central Illinois, the Peoria Zoo has two giraffes.  Director Yvonne Strode is certain this decision was not made lightly and that lots of thought went into it. 
 
"The animals in the zoos do have good lives, but we do have a purpose of saving the population as a whole and keeping animals here to see, so there are obligations in that way," said Peoria Zoo, Director Yvonne Strode.
 
Strode said American Zoos have their own group that oversees animal breeding.
     
She said in-breeding can lead to many health problems.