An individual gorilla is more valuable than an individual human being? Really?
The furor created above this incident has caused me to question so much about humanity. While tragedy in human loss goes unreported daily, Americans throw fits over the death of a gorilla
in order to save the life of a child.
As a mother of two boys, I had my share of inquisitive, curious, enthusiastic kiddos who could venture away from my watching eye in a New York second. In fact, I had some close calls myself, including one that truly momentarily stopped my heart from beating.
I know first hand that none of us are perfect parents and that I could have easily found myself in the position of that young mother at the Cincinnati Zoo.
I would hope this day in time that all zookeepers are trained to respond in emergency situations. Those at the Cincinnati Zoo understandably feared for the life of a child who entered the
enclosure of Harambe, and was, they felt, at risk of grievous harm or death.
Whether implicitly felt or explicitly stated, the assumption was that child’s life was more valuable than the gorilla’s. This was the view of Jack Hannah, the well-known conservationist and former director
of the Columbus Zoo.
In a host of interviews he clearly stated that the decision to kill Harambe was an easy call because every human life is more valuable than any animal life. The Cincinnati Zoo stood by its decision.
“It was a life-threatening situation and the silverback gorilla is a very dangerous animal,” said zoo director Thane Maynard at a news conference on Monday. “We stand by our decision and we’d make the same call today.”
This is comforting. I would hope and pray that every zoo director in this country would value human life as this one has.
The child’s mother, after insisting that she is a responsible parent, asserted on Facebook, “God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him.” Then she thanked those who
saved her son and “most importantly God for being the awesome God that He is.”
She apparently believes that God had intervened, even at the price of the gorilla’s life.
The Bible to me is clear. Genesis 1:26 teaches: 26Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
It is clear to me in other passages that God does care for the animals. In many passages, God shows compassion for the beast or bird, whether by the law, or other means. Though they do not have
eternal souls, they are part of God’s creation, and they give Him His due worship.
Especially upset were animal rights activists, who base the value of animals on emotional, or cognitive, traits they are believed to share with us, or on their capacity to suffer.
For them, the great apes, our closest biological cousins, have rights that deserve respect, foremost, the right of life.
As I watch the video footage of the gorilla and the child inside the gorilla’s enclosure, it looks like the gorilla is caring for the child, helping him stand up and touching his hand. Yet at other points,
the gorilla can be seen dragging the boy violently through the water as witnesses can be heard screaming.
Folks, animals are unpredictable. Even domesticated animals such as dogs are unpredictable, so obviously wild animals in captivity are unpredictable.
I love the zoo. I love nature. I love baby animals. I have even dreamed of raising bear cubs in captivity. I have friends who have taken in exotic animals. They parent him just like their own
In fact, in their well-planned will, the monkey will be well taken care of. I think that’s awesome. I think raising a monkey is also something I would love to do.
My faith has carried me thus far! Prayer is what has kept my own children safe from harm. Now that they are grown, I can no longer protect them. But what I can do is pray for a dome of protection
around them each day.
And folks, no hate mail, please. This momma would wrestle a grizzly bear, cage fight a mad fighting
bull or shoot a Western Lowland Gorilla dead to protect the life of my children any day!