A Danish zoo is facing a firestorm of international criticism (and death threats) after its employees publicly euthanized a healthy giraffe, dismembered its body and fed its remains to hungry leopards, lions and tigers.

All in front of a crowd of onlookers that included numerous young children …

The Copenhagen Zoo claims it euthanized the giraffe – an 18-month-old named Marius – to avoid inbreeding.

“Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes,” the zoo’s research and conservation director said in a statement.

More than 27,000 people signed an online petition urging the zoo to spare Marius’ life. Meanwhile a British wildlife preserve offered him a permanent home – and an anonymous buyer offered nearly $700,000 to purchase the animal.

No such luck …

Our thoughts on all this? Hmmmmmm … you know, we’d honestly prefer not to stick our necks out too far on this one (ba doom ching).