February 10, 2014

Bengt Holst
Copenhagen Zoo
Roskildevej 32
2000 Frederiksberg

Native Americans have a saying, “Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”  I have never run a zoo.  But on the path of understanding inbreeding my moccasins have stepped for many a weary year.  It’s a matter of balance.  It is in the reproductive interest of any vertebrate, nay any higher organism, to have a balance between inbreeding and outbreeding.  That is scientific fact, and one of the best studies demonstrating it was done right there in Denmark.  There is no excuse for you not knowing.  The articles are: Human Fertility Increases with marital radius. Rodrigo Labouriau and António Amorim.  GENETICS volume 178 January 2008 page 603 and Comment on “An Association Between the Kinship and Fertility of Human Couples,” Rodrigo Labouriau and António Amorim SCIENCE vol. 322, page 1634b December 12, 2008 commenting on An Association between Kinship and Fertility of Human Couples Agnar Helgason et al. SCIENCE vol. 329 no. 5864 February 8, 2008 page 813 – 816 which shows exactly the same thing in Iceland.

The cruel killing was bad enough.  The public dissection turns my stomach.  But the excuse, “Oh, dear, whimper, squeal, there might have been inbreeding,” is far the worst of it.  You are perpetuating a superstition – that’s right, a notion that has been disproved scientifically – that has caused untold heartbreak among humans.  Denmark is dying because of it.  The average woman has 1.7 children.  That, ultimately, means death.  If you think Danes don’t like children, remember Hans Christian Andersen, and if that does not persuade you, seek professional help.  The shortfall in births is due entirely to lack of sufficient inbreeding. 

If those three articles are not sufficient evidence, check out nobabies.net.  There is a summary of evidence I have accumulated as of the first of this year. 

I see that it would not have been difficult to find another home for the beast if you had so wished.  There is a mention that you belong to a club that has a rule against sending animals to any zoo outside the club.  Obviously that rule was not in the interest of an animal you had control over; you needed to drop out of the club or break the rule and let them expel you if they saw fit.  If either of those possibilities was not open then you need to make a second appointment with that professional; you should never have joined. 

The good news is that you now certainly have the world’s attention.  Do the world a favor and tell them the truth: there is a best degree on consanguinity for any animal; inbreeding alone is not the only threat.  Such an action would go far toward ameliorating the harm you have done to the giraffe, the zoo, yourself, Denmark and the wide world.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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