If you and your kids have watched wild animal nature programs on TV, you've probably seen a predator chase, kill, and devour another animal. But TV is one thing -- what if you had the chance to let your child watch a lion devour a giraffe live and in person? A Danish zoo killed a giraffe and fed it to the lions, and it let the public watch the whole thing. And while seemingly half of Europe is furious over the killing of a 2-year-old giraffe in perfect health, I was stunned at this: They let people watch?!? Maybe I'm just a cold-hearted nerd, but that sounds like an amazing learning experience for the kids.
The question of whether or not the zoo should have killed the giraffe is a separate issue I'll let other people argue over. I think it's an excellent discussion topic for older kids. But what I'm wondering is whether or not I would take my own child to see it all happen. I've seen from the photos taken at the Copenhagen Zoo that kids were right there, watching it all.
My son is 10 years old, and he's definitely hip to the fact that some animals eat other animals -- in a more concrete way than a 6-year-old knows that. We eat meat, and we've talked about where that food comes from. He's seen me hack up a whole, raw chicken numerous times. So the idea of killing animals (especially for food) is not news to him.
I think if you treat the subject with some respect, it could be an incredible opportunity parents aren't likely to get any other way besides going on a safari. (A real one, not one of those pretend safaris in California.) You'd have to prepare for it and not just show up like some gawking looky-loo. I would want us to read up on how exactly the zoo planned to proceed and maybe a bit about the eating habits of lions in the wild vs. in captivity, the typical lifespan of a giraffe, things of that sort that would give the whole experience some context. And then we would discuss after what we thought and how we felt about the experience.
I think you'd also have to prepare your child emotionally. They may think they can handle it and then find it more traumatic than they expected. I think you'd have to be very careful about that.
Of course, all this depends on whether or not my son would actually want to witness it. And I'm not sure he would -- maybe, if he were a little older? I think he might be a little too tender still at this point. But every kid is different -- I think there probably are some tween-aged kids who might find the whole thing fascinating.
But even if he said "no way!" to watching a giraffe get killed, skinned, and fed to big cats (which I would completely understand), just having that conversation would be interesting.
Would you let your kid watch any part of a giraffe being killed and fed to lions if they wanted to see it?
Image via Euronews/YouTube