Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Giraffe kisses dying zookeeper in final goodbye

March 21, 2014 CTV News

Dutch zookeeper Mario, 54, is dying of cancer and only has weeks to live. He has spent the majority of his life cleaning the giraffe enclosure at the Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam, Holland. But before he passed away he wanted to say a very special goodbye. So he asked for his hospital bed to be wheeled into the same enclosure he spent so many years cleaning.

The Ambulance Wish Foundation, which grants such wishes, found out about Mario’s request and got to work. The group posted these images to their Facebook page yesterday. As you can see in the video below, the giraffes go about their business for a while and then begin to gather around Mario before one leans in, sniffs the zookeeper and then gives him a kiss. “These animals recognized him, and felt that (things aren’t) going well with him,” says Kees Veldboer, founder of the Ambulance Foundation to Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. It was “a very special moment. You saw him beaming.”

After saying goodbye to the giraffes, Mario, who is mentally disabled, took a moment to say goodbye to his fellow coworkers.

Comment: It’s no surprise that animals are emotional and sensitive beings. This touching moment has captured the hearts of millions. And to think we treat them so abysmally, and without thought. It brings to mind the immoral and tragic outcome for Marius, the young, healthy giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, who was callously slaughtered, dismembered and fed to the lions to prevent inbreeding. He was ‘surplus.’ A lesson in eugenics for everybody.

We have much to learn from the nonhuman species. Enlightenment, compassion, and wisdom will bring us closer to the goal of animal liberation. Their liberation is our liberation.

Read more: Edinburgh Zoo kills rare piglets; Copenhagen Zoo executes young giraffe deemed ‘surplus’; follows up by destroying 4 lions

Unseen they suffer; Unheard they cry; In agony they linger; In loneliness they die.

Every cow just wants to be happy. Every chicken just wants to be free. Every bear, dog, or mouse experiences sorrow and feels pain as intensely as any of us humans do. Compassion toward all beings, including our fellow animals, is a moral obligation and the direction toward which any enlightened society must aspire.

Animal rights, and the recognition of animals as sentient beings, has become an important social, legal, and moral one.

"Suffering is suffering. It is always ugly. It is always unwelcome. It always needs to be stopped. There are no exceptions. A person with the capacity but not the inclination to cease suffering is morally incomplete."  -Mirko Bagaric

July 18, 2019 In her new book, “Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals,” Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy Christine Korsgaard makes the case that humans are not inherently more important than animals & therefore should treat them much better than we do. Drawing on the work of Immanuel Kant and Aristotle, she argues that humans have a duty to value our fellow creatures not as tools, but as sentient beings capable of consciousness and able to have lives that are good or bad for them.

More to explore on our Ethics & Authors pages