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Historic Ice Storm Threatens the Southeast; Self-Defense or Murder?; Checking Charities' Claims; Tom Brokaw Reveals Cancer Diagnosis; Copenhagen Zoo Official Defends Euthanizing Giraffe, Says There Were No Other Viable Options; Rescue Effort Under Way in Utah for Man Buried in Avalanche

Aired February 11, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Get ready. There's breaking news tonight. Millions of Americans tonight facing what could be the worst winter storm in nearly a decade and a half. We'll show you who is in harm's way tonight.

Also why did this man pump shot after shot into an SUV full of teenagers? Hear from the defendant himself in the loud music murder trial and decide for yourself whether to believe his story of self- defense.

And later, some kids covered their eyes because they could not bear to see a giraffe killed, cut up and then fed to the lions. The question is, what made a zoo in Denmark think that this was a good idea? And why did they even kill that giraffe? I'll talk to the zoo official who made the decision and we'll also hear from Jack Hanna who's more than just mad.

We begin tonight with the breaking news. A winter storm that some fear will make Atlanta's recent weather nightmare look like almost nothing. This is what two inches of snow and ice did to the city just a couple of weeks ago. No doubt you remember.

The storm that's getting ready to pummel the southeast tonight could be the worst in 14 years. Take a look at it from space stretching there from Texas through Virginia and farther north along the eastern seaboard.

It's in Georgia, though, and the Carolinas, that will be the first to get the worst of it. And not just out on the roads which could look like this shortly. That's because even if you stay at home you could end up in darkness for days when inches of ice meet miles of power lines. Right now snow is falling north of Atlanta.

Not wanting to get caught off guard like last time, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 89 counties telling Georgians we are not kidding and we are not crying wolf, he said.

President Obama declared a state of emergency as well, freeing up federal resources in case things get bad. More than 2,000 flights, they've already been canceled for Wednesday. We just learned that Delta employees will be sleeping in planes at Atlanta airport during the storm because there just aren't enough hotel rooms for everyone. Serious stuff tonight. Let's check in with Chad Myers in the Weather Center.

So they're calling this storm potentially crippling. What --


COOPER: What do the southeast -- what should they expect?

MYERS: Ice. And the ice is going to be rain on the way down and freeze when it gets down here. That's the issue. It's the ice that will collect on the trees and grow and grow and grow, and then that tree will fall down. It has no choice because it's just simply too heavy.

And here is the storm right now. If you're coming out of Texas into Louisiana but it's on its way to Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia tonight. The issue is that aloft.

Anderson, I'm talking about 3,000 feet up in the sky. It's going to be 36 degrees. That's because the warm air from the Gulf of Mexico is going to ride up on top of the cold air. Then that 36-degree rain is going to rain down into our atmosphere where it's going to be 29 and it's going to freeze. It doesn't have a choice.

When it gets farther to the north it will be thick enough that it will be all snow. And that snow is D.C., Philadelphia, New York, probably 10 inches in New York City, 10 inches in Philadelphia, eight to 12 in Washington, D.C. All the way up the East Coast, Boston, Hartford, everywhere along I-95 gets the same storm.

It's the ice storm down here that will bring down a million trees, a million power lines and let some people without power for I think weeks.

COOPER: And it's a nightmare out in airports across the country. I was in Texas this morning, I flew out of Dallas. That American Airlines canceled flights, U.S. Air canceled flights. Delta finally flew out this morning. But the storm is already causing thousands of cancellations over the next couple of days at major airports. And that's only going to get worse, right?

MYERS: Here's what Atlanta looks like right. It's 36 degrees and nothing's going on. It's drizzling. That's not the problem. The problem is that there should be 100 or so planes in the sky to Atlanta. There are 30, 30 planes to ATL right now. All of the West Coast planes have already been canceled.

All the planes that would be on the ground all night will not be on the ground all night. All those planes are leaving. They're all going to get out of Atlanta because they don't want to get buried in the ice. Except for the planes that the Delta people will be sleeping in on the tarmac because, you know, some of those seats do recline. You still want to get the ones that don't recline that are in the exit rows. It's going to be a rough night for all the people in the airports because -- this is going to be a devastating effect for Wednesday, Thursday, even into Friday. This doesn't get a lot better.

COOPER: Yes. I've not heard of crews sleeping on the planes in a long time.

All right. Chad, thanks very much.

MYERS: Right.

COOPER: By this time tomorrow a Florida jury could be deciding the fate of Michael Dunn, the man who opened fire on a vehicle full of teens outside a convenience store after an altercation over loud music.

The two sides rested but not before Dunn took the stand, something that surprised a lot of people frankly who have been following the trial. Not a lot of people thought he was actually going to do that.

Dunn told jurors why he pumped shot after shot into the SUV killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis and then recounting what happened next. We have more from Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the witness stand, 47-year-old Michael Dunn gave a simple reason for firing nine shots into an SUV with four teens inside.

MICHAEL DUNN, DEFENDANT: I thought I was going to be killed.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says he and his fiancee pulled into a Jacksonville gas station parking next to a red Dodge Durango playing music so loud his own car was vibrating.

DUNN: Body panels in the SUV were rattling, my rear-view mirror was shaking. My ear drums were vibrating.


DUNN: This was ridiculously loud music.

SAVIDGE: While his fiancee was in the store, Dunn says he politely spoke to the teens.

DUNN: I said, can you turn that down, please? They turned it off. And if the music wasn't off at least the bass stopped completely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And at that point what did you then say?

DUNN: I said thank you.

SAVIDGE: But moments later Dunn said the volume was back up and Jordan Davis in the back passenger seat was using racially infused profanity that grew increasingly threatening. DUNN: I hear I should kill that motherfucker. And I'm flabbergasted. I'm -- I'm -- I must not be hearing this right.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says he tried to deescalate the situation, asking, are you talking to me? That's when he says Davis reached for something.

DUNN: He reached the door then pick something up and slam it against the door. I saw sticking above the window sill about four inches of a barrel.

SAVIDGE: From then on Dunn described an escalating series of threats and actions by the 17-year-old.

DUNN: Now the door opens and this young man gets out. And as his head clears the window frame, he says, "This shit's going down now." And this is the point where my death is imminent.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says he retrieved his gun from the glove box and fired nine shots into the SUV, even stepping out of his own car to continue shooting as the SUV drove off.

DUNN: I didn't aim, I pointed. I was fighting for my life.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says he was afraid the SUV would return. And unaware he'd hit anyone, he and his fiancee drove to their hotel, never calling police. But Davis was hit three times. He died a short time later. And police say no gun was found.

On cross-examination, John Guy pounced on Dunn saying in the moments and hours after the shooting he never told his fiancee the teens had a gun. Dunn maintains he did.

JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT STATE PROSECUTOR: You never told the love of your life that those boys had a gun?

DUNN: You weren't there.

SAVIDGE: It was the start of a contentious back and forth with Guy hammering Dunn over his story. Guy said the two vehicles were parked so close it would have been impossible for a raging Jordan to get out as Dunn said he did. He then said self-defense was not the real motive.

GUY: Jordan Davis was never a threat to you, was he, Mr. Dunn?

DUNN: Absolutely he was.

SAVIDGE: Dunn said the following day he did report the shooting to a friend in federal law enforcement to begin the process of turning himself in. But the prosecution produced phone records showing Dunn called no one. Then the prosecution recalled Dunn's fiancee who tearfully confirmed Dunn made no call. Then she damaged his testimony even more when asked if Dunn ever told her the teens were armed, something Dunn swore he did --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever tell you he saw a gun in that red SUV?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever tell you that he saw a weapon of any kind in that SUV?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a stick?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a shotgun?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a barrel?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no mention of a lead pipe?


SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


COOPER: Let's bring in our "Equal Justice" panel, our legal analysts, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin who was inside the courtroom today and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Sunny, it's interesting. I mean, he seemed very confident on the stand. And it's not often you see a defendant like that take the stand. And then his fiancee basically undercut a lot of the stuff that he so confidently said he told her.

You were there for the testimony. What was it like in the courtroom? I mean, you think it was a good day for the government.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I do think it was a good day for the government. I will tell you, Anderson, that the courtroom was absolutely packed. People were shoulder to shoulder. And the jury was riveted when Michael Dunn was on the witness stand. And so at first the appearance was wow, he probably did OK. But on cross- examination, I think that John Guy played it just right.

It was very well-played. It was effective. It wasn't over the top. Many people are saying he didn't do enough. Well, that is what makes a good prosecutor. You don't want to go too far. You're never going to get the moment that Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise got in "A Few Good Men" where, you know, Jack Nicholson says, oh, you're damn right, I ordered the code red. That doesn't happen.

But what happened this time is that John Guy made sure that all the inconsistencies that -- really that Michael Dunn had came out in the rebuttal case. And I thought that was so, so very effective.

COOPER: Mark, what did you make of Dunn's time on the stand?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, Dunn had to take the stand. Anybody who knows anything about self-defense knows that they did not have in this case any other way to get a self-defense instruction.

The problem is with a fiancee like that, who needs a wife? Because she basically cut his legs off. And you know, he's -- yes, as good as I think he did, she was devastating to him.

COOPER: So whatever --

HOSTIN: That's right.

COOPER: Whatever inroads, Mark, he made on the stand in convincing people, you think she just completely undercut him?

GERAGOS: Look, right. Because the -- his testimony just taken in a vacuum sounds pretty convincing. Until you ask why is it that you didn't call anybody, and then he says, well, I can understand if he's shell shocked or something. And then he ended up calling somebody the next day. Then his fiancee gets up there and pretty much undercuts that, undercuts him on the idea that he saw a gun.

And that's pretty devastating stuff. I mean, a jury's going to say well, wait a second, if his fiancee is not going to lie for him and she's telling the truth, why would we believe anything he said? And remember, one of the reasons defendants rarely take the stand is because you don't talk about -- jurors don't talk about the prosecution case anymore, they talk about what did the defendant say. And at this point what did the defendant say is very tough for him.

COOPER: And, Sunny --

GERAGOS: It's difficult.

COOPER: Sunny, I want to play some more of what -- of what she said. I mean, Dunn said -- you know, there were a lot of inconsistencies about what he said he told his fiancee. She then said as we heard before that he never said anything about a gun.

Here's what he said during cross-examination. Let's listen.


GUY: How did you describe the weapon? What, did you say they had a sword? You said they had a machete?

DUNN: Gun.

GUY: A gun. You used the word "gun" with Rhonda Rouer?

DUNN: Yes, I did.

GUY: When? When? DUNN: Multiple times.


COOPER: So that's -- I mean that's pretty crucial, Sunny. I mean, he says multiple times he said "gun" to his fiancee and she says he didn't do it. He never said it.

HOSTIN: That's right. It goes to the heart of this case because for the jury to find that he acted in self-defense with this justifiable use of force, they have to believe that he saw a gun. Now if he really saw a gun and fired in self-defense, the minute he got into that car wouldn't he have said to his fiancee, oh, my gosh, someone just tried to kill me, they had a gun, a barrel of a shotgun pointed at me?

Well, he says he did say that but she said no, he never said it on the way to the hotel room. He never said it on the way back home. He just never said it.

I have to agree with Mark, which I never do, I really think that she was the pivotal witness, the star witness really for the prosecution in this case.

COOPER: Well, also if you're concerned -- go ahead, go ahead, Mark.

GERAGOS: What's so perplexing -- what's so perplexing is they know -- the defense knows what she's going to say. It's not like it's a surprise. You've got all of this stuff is predigested. So if that's going to happen why are you putting this guy on to just set himself up to get his legs cut off?

COOPER: And also, what I don't get is, I mean, if you're a concerned citizen, you're packing a gun, you've just shot into a vehicle and you claim that there's a bunch of teenagers riding around with a weapon in their car, you would think he would call the police and say, there's some teens with guns in their car.

HOSTIN: Of course.

COOPER: I mean, it -- it doesn't hold up.

Anyway, Mark will continue to follow it. Sunny as well.

Let us know what you think at home. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper, tweet using #ac360.

Coming up next, they say they're sending -- this is outrageous. They say they're sending out tens of millions of dollars worth of medical supplies to one of the neediest countries on earth. A charity. It sounds like a great thing. The question is, why can't anyone find a trace of all those things they're supposedly sending?

Drew Griffin has been looking. Tonight he gets access to some of the group's books chasing the money. We are "Keeping Them Honest." You are going to want to see what he found. Also, the man who did so much to honor the greatest generation now -- fighting perhaps his biggest battle. Tom Brokaw revealing his struggle with cancer. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us tonight.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, charities that are very bad among the worst, in fact, at putting your donations to work for the people who actually need it. They are, however, as you've seen in our reporting over the years very good at some other things, namely making questionable claims about the work that they say they do with your money and giving reporters the run around.

Now over and over our Drew Griffin, along with our partners, the "Tampa Bay Times" and the Center for Investigative Reporting, have exposed these questionable charities. He tried last night, Drew Griffin did, following what some of these outfits claim were tens of millions of dollars in medical supplies all the way to Guatemala.

Well, tonight a rare chance to actually look at some of their books. "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2010 and 2011, if you believe the paperwork, 15 American charities sent $47 million worth of medicines and other donations to Guatemala. Most unloaded here at one of the country's two main ports. A journey that began here in South Carolina in a business called Charity Services International, whose president, Roy Tidwell, told us back in 2012 gathering and sending charitable goods is all he does.

ROY TIDWELL, PRESIDENT, CHARITY SERVICES INTERNATIONAL: We send on behalf of our charities out to these organizations. We just handle the shipping.

GRIFFIN: But in hundreds of internal records from Charity Services International, those millions in donations show a disturbing pattern. Identical shipments claimed to be sent by several charities and all for the exact same amount.

Take a look. Four identical donations here down to the nickel. $2,007,902.05. The four American charities claiming credit for sending the donations all listed by their initials. The Breast Cancer Society, the Children's Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Fund of America and Breast Cancer Charities of America.

All the donations to Guatemala and all to a small charity there called the Order of Malta. The shipper said it was actually one huge donation the charities split four ways.

If that sounds suspect, it's why we went to Guatemala searching for any signs of a huge medical shipment.

Or even evidence that a charity or a hospital or even a clinic down here received charitable goods. We came up empty. The charities wouldn't talk to us and that includes the head of the Breast Cancer Society who last year gave us the finger.

(On camera): Talk for a second? No, where are you go, Mr. Reynolds? Mr. Reynolds? Where are you taking off?

(Voice-over): The question is how can these little-known charities take tax credit for shipping millions of dollars in medicines to Guatemala? It's all in the backdoor brokering of noncash donations, what charities call gifts in kind. Critics call that an easy way for pretty bad charities to look pretty good. By overvaluing their donations.

How? Tom Tighe was disgusted when he found out. He runs a reputable medical charity called Direct Relief. From his warehouse in California, he supplies free medicines to rural clinics in the U.S., to disasters overseas, to almost any medical relief team that needs medicines. It's all free. He says when he had leftover medicines he sent it to another charity so they could find a good use for it.

The value of the medicines he sent? $3 million. Within the week, he had a thank you letter for his $100 million donation.

(On camera): You personally know that is true.

TOM TIGHE, CEO, DIRECT RELIEF: Right. Well, we've seen examples, including with products that we have given and assigned a value to which we know is correct, and then seen it in the handoff to another charitable organization be revalued at as many as, I don't know, 40 times higher, which is absurd.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Tighe tracked down what happened and found a man named Cliff Feldman, a broker who lives in Florida, was working with Charity Services International in that South Carolina warehouse, and according to these e-mails was getting paid $2500 each time he handled the paperwork. And the paperwork says Tighe was disturbing.

(On camera): And the reason to make it appear bigger is to make them appear like they're doing more good.

TIGHE: That's the only thing I can think. I mean, you know, we've been at this for 65 years at Direct Relief. We've never been the largest one. We take a very conservative approach to these things. These are medications that people are going to ingest for their health. So there's no point in getting clever with anything including how it's valued for the purposes of appearing to the outside world.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Tighe cut all ties with Feldman so have other charities who no longer have any faith in how he places values on donated goods.

What's Feldman's answer to all this?

(On camera): Mr. Feldman, Drew Griffin with CNN. I called and left a message from Guatemala. I'm now standing outside the gates of your community.

Not surprisingly, the man who helped all these charities with their accounting lives here, inside a gated community of expensive homes in south Florida. And no, he is not talking.

(Voice-over): As for the shipping company, a law enforcement source says Charity Services International is under investigation. Roy Tidwell who runs the company says he did pay Feldman for his services but that it is up to individual charities to put values on their own donations, which again raises the question why all four of our charities sending aid to Guatemala came up with the same value of goods down to the nickel.

Remember, $2,007,902.05. But an even bigger question remains. Where is it? In a country filled with people desperate for help, $50 million in donated medicines is nowhere to be found.


COOPER: It's just unbelievable. Drew joins us.

Now you never found any evidence that the $15 million in medicine was ever even sent to Guatemala. I mean, can these -- can these charities get in trouble if in fact there never was a donation?

GRIFFIN: Trying to hold these charities accountable is very difficult for the IRS, for state governments. They're very labor intensive, complex, time consuming investigations. And often because the laws are so lax, Anderson, the best you can do on the other side of this is maybe get a fine. So until now we have not seen many charities being prosecuted or really even investigated.

COOPER: So -- I mean, it boils down what, just donor beware?

GRIFFIN: Until now, yes, donor beware. But that could be changing after all this news we've been generating on this. Several attorneys general from across the country are beginning to tell us, you know what, enough is enough. They're trying to figure out a way to stop these bad charities from pandering for our money only to use that money, Anderson, for everything but charity.

COOPER: All right, Drew, stay on it. It's just -- it's infuriating. Appreciate it. Thanks.

Just ahead tonight, breaking news, veteran NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw revealing he has cancer. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me ahead.

Also, you're going to hear from the man behind a zoo's decision to kill a young healthy giraffe, a 2-year-old giraffe, and then feed its body to lions while kids watched after it was being autopsied in front of children.

We've got a lot of questions for him. Also Jack Hanna joins us ahead.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back. There's breaking news tonight, veteran NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw shared some very personal news tonight revealing that he has cancer. He was diagnosed in August with multiple myeloma and says his doctors are encouraged with his progress.

In a statement he said, "With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I'm very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come. I remain the luckiest guy I know."

NBC said Brokaw continued to work as a special correspondent during his treatment.

Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us tonight.

So, Sanjay, what exactly is multiple myeloma?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a -- it's a type of cancer, specifically cancer of cells within the bone marrow. That's the area in the middle of your bone. And you get all these different cells that are produced there. So one of the cells in that bone marrow just starts growing too rapidly and crowds out all the other cells. So it's a type of cancer in the same sort of class as leukemia or lymphoma.

COOPER: And -- I mean, how serious is it? The NBC, their statement says that doctors are optimistic about the outcome of the treatment he's receiving.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, look, this is a serious cancer. There's no specific cure for it. And it very much depends on what stage it's caught and how someone is responding to therapy. I sort of read the same statement and read into that that there's all sorts of different treatments available.

What you have to do with this type of cancer is you basically want to kill all the various cells within the bone marrow. You want to kill out the plasma cells, which are the cancerous cells but other cells as well. And then eventually give more cells to sort of recreate the bone marrow. But that's such a long process and it's an involved process. And that's sort of -- the type of treatment he's undergoing.

COOPER: So is that chemotherapy? I mean, you said there are a lot of different treatments.

GUPTA: It's a type of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy in this case is actually targeting the cells within the bone marrow. The problem is you need some of the good cells in the bone marrow. White blood cells, red blood cells, platelets so eventually you have to give those cells back to the body. If for a time period the patient doesn't have enough cells and you have to eventually give those back slowly.

COOPER: He's obviously a very active guy. The fact he's continued to work on projects for NBC News throughout the treatment what does that tell you?

GUPTA: Yes, it's interesting. I mean, there are all sorts of different symptoms that people develop and again it depends on what stage they are. If it was caught early it wouldn't be that surprising. I could tell you one of the earliest symptoms people develop sometimes is bone pain or back pain specifically. They get little lesions in the bone, for example on somebody's skull.

But those punched out lesions tend to cause pain and that's what somebody typically goes to the doctor for. They may not have any other symptoms. But they may eventually develop fatigue, may develop sort of more profound symptoms as time goes on. But if it's early he could be doing just fine.

COOPER: Is it known what causes multiple myeloma?

GUPTA: They don't know for sure. I mean, there have been all sorts of theories on this. Some people believe there's a genetic glitch in people. It's sort of a cancer switch that is stuck in the on position, if you will. There has been some research into looking at environmental exposures from all sorts of different things, exposure to radiation. But there's no definitive cause. We don't know for sure.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

COOPER: We certainly wish Tom the best.

Just ahead I'm going to talk to the man who stands by his zoo's decision to kill a young, healthy giraffe and cut up its body, autopsy it in front of children and feed it to lions all while young children watch. Jack Hannah also is going to weigh in.


COOPER: Tonight, a story -- a 360 follow on a story that sparked outrage even death threats. You probably heard a zoo in Denmark killed a perfectly healthy young giraffe named Marius simply because his genes weren't good for their own breeding program. Instead of preventing Marius from breeding or giving him away to another zoo, they shot him.

Then in the name of public education they did an autopsy in front of children, cut up his body in front of children. The children then saw him being fed to the zoo's big cats. We want to warn it's pretty graphic. The zoo says it's good for children to see the unvarnished reality of wild animals.

Another reality the zoo had not one, but multiple offers from other zoos to actually adopt the giraffe. It didn't need to be killed. It turned them all done. We've also learned that Marius is not an exception. Other animals are killed at the zoo to prevent overbreeding. Bengt Holts is the scientific director of the Copenhagen Zoo. He is taking much of the heat. He joins us tonight.

Mr. Holst, I've seen reports that other zoos, private philanthropists were willing to step in and make sure this giraffe wasn't killed. Why not do that? Why kill the giraffe?

BENGT HOLST, SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR, COPENHAGEN ZOO: Because first of all because it was a surplus to the population and it's right that we got two offers from other zoos. But they were not real offers. Because one of these zoos was already part of the breeding program, so they had been considered already when we did the basic analysis of the program to see where this male would fit in genetically.

The other one was outside the program and didn't work according to the same values as we do. I mean, by not selling animals to anyone. We exchange animals for free and we don't want to sell -- we don't want to send our animal to places where we don't know what happens to it after we have delivered it.

COOPER: What's worse that could happen to an animal, though, than being killed? I mean, you say you don't want to send to it a place you don't know what's going to happen to it. You know what's going to happen to it at your place.

HOLST: Yes, well, of course. But the most important thing for us is that an animal has to have a good life as long as it lives, be it short life or long life. It has to be a good life. If you send it to a place where you cannot take responsibility for it anymore, you risk it going to what we would call a substandard place. And then it will live there could live there for 15, 20 years on substandard conditions. That would be suffering for 20 years. That's not the way to work with animals.

COOPER: But doesn't the life of the animal itself have some value rather than just it being part of your breeding program?

HOLST: Yes, it does. But it has a value and that's why we say it has a value as long as it lives. It has to have a good life as long as it lives.

COOPER: You're saying it has value as long as it lives and you're the one killing it.

HOLST: Yes. But we human beings are the ones controlling animals' lives all the time. We do it for our domestic animals. We do it for the animals in the parks, in the forests, on the open land. We do it everywhere.

COOPER: I saw an article a few years ago you were quoted as saying your zoo euthanizes 20 to 30 healthy exotic animals a year. Is that still the case?

HOLST: This is an average over ten years because it goes up and down every year from llamas, goats, not only exotic animals. If you have a breeding program, if you want to breed and have a healthy population you have to renew the population currently. And you can only do that by breeding.

COOPER: The other issue, of course, is the autopsy in front of children. And I know you said it's an educational experience and it was good for them to see what the real world is. Some of those kids looked pretty young. Do you still feel that way after the backlash that you've gotten about this?

HOLST: Yes. Because I saw the autopsy, I saw the reaction of the kids and the parents. And what's really fascinating to see how fascinated they became by seeing this. We have done it before, not with a giraffe, but with a bear, with wolves and with a snake, et cetera. And I think it's very important that people see the wonders of animals, not only when they're alive but also when they're dead.

And I think we need some discussions also about life and death. And that we can show to our public. And there may be cultural differences between the United States and Europe and Denmark. But in our country, it's not that unusual.

COOPER: Mr. Holst, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HOLST: You're welcome.

COOPER: We want to get another perspective. Jack Hanna is the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo. He has obviously a much different take. He was on the program last night. He joins us again tonight. Jack, you heard what the scientific director of the zoo said. What do you think?

JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: Well, astounded. That's the word that I can't get up there above astounded.

COOPER: I don't quite understand what, I mean, he seemed adamant that there was no other option basically for this giraffe. The European zoos have a certain standard. They couldn't give to it any other zoo. And even some of the zoos they could give it to it were a matter of space. It seems like people go to great lengths to adopt dogs to save them from being killed. It seems like adopting a giraffe for a zoo to some zoo somewhere would be able to take this giraffe.

HANNA: There were others in Europe that could have taken it. That will become shortly. Who are we to judge, Anderson, who should live and not live a short life? Yes, we have sustainability and a lot of room we need in zoos. That's why certain places are built to take some of these animals. That's why we have a problem sometimes with people who don't believe in zoos.

COOPER: Is it normal for a zoo to be killing so many animals a year?

HANNA: Anderson, I've never heard anything like it. I've been doing this for 40 years. I do a lot of zoos in this country. If somebody does something to an animal that goes down whatever happens to the animal is up to the zoo. The Association of Zookeepers we're trying to educate people to love the giraffe, to understand what nature is about. Ninety eight percent of our animals are born in other zoos, not taken from the wild. I appreciate he says it's neat for them to know how they're taken down in the wild.

COOPER: It's also one thing to have an animal eat another animal in the wild. It's another thing to have an animal autopsied and dissected in front of a group of school children. I'm not sure I would want to watch that.

HANNA: No, Anderson. What it is, he's using the word "autopsy." now was that said several days ago when I heard the word they shot the animal?

COOPER: They shot the animal.

HANNA: Why would you do an autopsy on an animal that you shot? If this was like a murder or somebody snuck in the zoo, yes, and an autopsy. We know why he died. He got shot.

COOPER: What he seems to be saying is that the animal itself doesn't really have any right to live or the animal itself, there's no inherent value in the animal living out its natural life, which just seems odd for, I mean, zoos in the United States are spending tens of millions of dollars to try to recreate habitats, to try to give polar bears an existence that is one like the one they would have in the wild. It just seems odd that there's no sense from this guy that the animal itself, the life of the animal actually matters. It's just a product in the breeding program.

HANNA: Right. I like that term you use, a product in the breeding program. Anderson, this is a living creature. It's like I was taught on our farm, my dad, and I try to teach people whether you go to a pet shop or wherever you buy a pet or whatever. You have an obligation to that animal, Anderson. That's a living creature. God put that creature on earth for certain reasons. It teaches responsibility. It teaches love. That's what the zoological world does.

COOPER: In talking to him, I started to think. Well, if you're killing 20 to 30 exotic animals a year because they don't fit into your breeding program anymore, it starts to question what's the value of this breeding program is if it's not even endangered animal. I know the zoo wants to keep a stock going and attract people. At some person the animals themselves should have a right to actually having a life.

HANNA: They sure should, shouldn't they? We are now trying to build places in this country, our country, to take surplus animals where they can live out their regular lives and also a place where older animals can live out their regular lives. We might have to euthanize them if they're sick. That's a different situation. We have habitats to try to resemble what the wild is, teach people what they have never seen.

You are one of the few reporters that have gotten out there and understand why it's so important. That's what is important because you've taught yourself you and me out in the wild. How many people can do that? Not 1/10 of 1 percent. We're trying to bring that to them in a humane way and take care of the animals for their lifetime.

COOPER: It just seems odd. I kind of wonder if the zoo has a poster somewhere that says, enjoy our animals. We're going to kill 20 of them this year. But enjoy them while they last. No one I think knowing that would kind of keep going to that zoo. It just seems an odd set of priorities. Jack Hanna, I appreciate you coming on to talk about this.

HANNA: Thanks, Anderson, for all your help. COOPER: Up next, a desperate rescue effort is under way right now in Utah for a man buried by an avalanche. We're going to talk an expert that says skiers and snowboarders can survive an avalanche if they have the right equipment, details ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. There is word tonight of an active rescue operation underway in Utah for a man buried in an avalanche. Local reports quote officials say the man was snowmobiling today when the avalanche struck. Meanwhile a neighbouring Coloradoan search and rescue team found the body of a missing skier today. Officials say the victim got caught in an avalanche yesterday while skiing in the back country of the Rocky Mountains West of Denver.

His death is being investigated by the director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, an expert we are going to meet in a moment. Now since Sunday, the mountains of Colorado, Utah, four people have been killed in avalanches. Every year in this country more than two dozen people die in them, but armed with the right equipment you can actually survive one. Gary Tuchman tonight shows us how.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A back country ski outing in Switzerland. That is about to turn into a horrifying experience. Christopher Carlson, who was wearing a helmet cam, came very close to documenting his own death. It's an avalanche. He is buried about five feet under the snow, unable to move.

Carlson is hoping the skiers he was with find him before he suffocates and they do. He's a very lucky man. On the average in the U.S., 28 people die each year from avalanches, often with hundreds of tons of snow plummeting down the mountain. I ski at Colorado's Copper Mountain with one of the top avalanche experts in the United States

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are the conditions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good for skiing.

TUCHMAN: Ethan Greene is the director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre. His state agency's responsibility in part to forecast the probability of avalanches.


TUCHMAN: He takes me away from the resort and into the back country where most avalanches occur to learn about the three essentials for back country skiers.

GREENE: Beacon, probe, shovel, the beacon. We all put on one of these and turn them out so they're transmitting. Later in the day if you get buried in an avalanche I'll be able to set mine to receive, pick up your signal and locate you. TUCHMAN: The probe and shovel.

GREENE: This is a three-meter probe pole. What this allows me to do once I get your general location with the beacon I can pinpoint you with this probe and then use the shovel to dig down to the tip.

TUCHMAN: This fourth item can keep you above the rampaging snow threatening to bury you, the air bag pack. We dug a three-foot-deep hole in the snow to simulate what an avalanche victim might be trapped. Our plan, to send Ethan Greene up the mountain with his beacon in receive mode to try to pick up my signal from the hole where I will wait for a rescue. Our producer puts the finishing touches on my snow cave, and I wait in the dark underground.

GREENE: OK. So I'm turning on to receive.

TUCHMAN: No signal right away. But quickly --

GREENE: Got a signal.

TUCHMAN: It tells him how close he's getting.

GREENE: It's 16 meters, 13 meters.

TUCHMAN: The beacon works like a charm.

GREENE: OK. I'm less than a meter. I have a strike.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Wow. That was quite unsettling under there. So glad your beacon worked.

GREENE: Me, too!

TUCHMAN: Thanks.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Of course, I was always safe in my controlled environment. In real life, a victim sometimes doesn't even have a chance in a huge avalanche.

GREENE: It's so dense that you're not going to be able to dig yourself out. Sometimes you can't even expand your lungs to breathe.

TUCHMAN: But if you're alive after the snow stops moving, having the right equipment can mean the difference between life and death. Just like it did for Christopher Carlson. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Copper Mountain, Colorado.


COOPER: It's amazing video.

A programming note, starting tomorrow on 360 we're looking into a fascinating question. Are babies born knowing the difference between good and evil, between good and bad? You can join that conversation tomorrow when CNN digital correspondent, Kelly Wallace and author Paul Bloom join me for a live Google hangout tomorrow at 1:30 Eastern. You can find the link on our web site, "The Ridiculist" is next. Stick around


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." It finally happened, a zombie apocalypse in New York City, apparently, we now have to worry about the Frenzied hands of the undeaden reaching out from the sidewalk grates.

So you probably guessed it that this is some kind of hidden camera viral video. It promotes the new season of AMC's "The Walking Dead," which started on Sunday. Of course, the people walking by didn't know that at the time. The AMC which runs the subway system didn't give anyone permission. It's not the permits that concern me.

This seems to be the new thing. Scare the life out of unsuspecting New Yorkers for your promotional video. Now it was just last month that the devil baby was unleashed for the movie "Devil's Due."

The last guy's reaction or lack thereof is my favorite. Completely New York! That's not my favourite part. Let me show you my favourite part.

The projectile vomiting, that is my favorite part. I know it's hilarious to watch these videos after the fact, but do they always have to be here in New York City? We got enough to deal with, the rats, the crowds, the tourists stopping in the middle of the sidewalks, various aromas. It's enough to make Liz Lemmon wonder if she'll live in New York forever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to end up like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'm going to be like her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing like New York in the spring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. This is the capital of the world. The culture --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you all right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He spit in my mouth.


COOPER: All I'm saying is, I like these hidden camera videos as much as the next guy. But maybe just maybe let's do some of them I don't know in Cleveland for a while. In the meantime we New Yorkers are a savvy lot. We get it. We'll be on the lookout from now on always for unmanned strollers carrying puking demon babies, for zombies in the subway grates. We're ready for anything on "The Ridiculist." That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now. Another edition of "AC 360." Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.