I want to preface this entry by saying that I spent a good portion of my early adult years (I.e. My Late Teens/early 20s) working with animals…Granted, it was at a PetSmart in my home town, but learning to take care of all creatures great and small was a very important thing to learn. And speaking as a person who gets skittish when a large dog jumps on me, that’s saying a lot. I have an fond appreciation for animals–though I do have a long way to go before I stop eating some of them (sorry, PETA, I just need more time). At the same time, this is one of those “Hot Button” topics I warned you about in the last posting, so if you have anything to add to what I’m about to say, I more than welcome your opinions, just please keep things civil–there are MANY sides to this story, I’m just expressing a thought on one of them.
That being said, I was combing through my facebook feed this morning, when I came across something that was both funny and wrong at the same time…I think that makes it “Frong”. Anyway, here’s what’s frong with the world this week…
So, yeah, just about everybody and their mother had something to say about the (now) infamous incident involving Harambe; a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo being forcibly euthanized for getting a little too close to a 4-year old boy. A boy who (by the by) would’ve probably avoided the gorilla if his mother was mindful enough to watch him in the first place, or if the zoo had a better security system in place………Or so the (continuously updating) story goes.
In a story like this, it’s pretty hard to pick a side:
“The Gorilla didn’t even touch the kid!”
“The Gorilla was about to Attack!”
“The Mother should’ve Watched the Kid!”
“The Mother made a mistake!”
“Harambe was a Living Being!”
“Zoos should be closed for good!”
…and my Personal Favorite 4 words in the English language (he says sarcastically)…Think. Of. The. Children.
It’s hard to pick a side on this issue, largely because neither side is right or wrong, yet everybody will still lose no matter what side of the argument…But since everybody else is taking theirs, I take the side of the Animal and Animal Rights. At the same time, I think the mother of the boy is a bystander in all of this…guilty or innocent remains open to debate, but at least she still called for help, and it’s not like she looked away from her child deliberately (and that’s ALL I’ll say about that side of the story, because there’s a far bigger issue here). Yes, there was an undeniable sense of danger going on for all parties involved, and yes, a lot of quick thinking had to be done in order to make sure every one involved got out unscathed, but there could’ve been better ways to deal with such an emergency. For starters, where were the tranquilizer darts during the incident? Zoo officials argued that because of the size of Harambe (a Silverback, in this case), Tranqs would’ve taken too long to have done anything significant. In a sense, I kinda get it–after all “The Bigger they are, the harder they fall”. But even so, it amazes me that a Zoo wouldn’t have any other alternate means of keeping animals under control.
Why not embed a chip in his ear that would activate a high-frequency squeal if the animals get too close to people? Nah, too cruel. Animals can go deaf too. Why not install a retractable plexiglass wall around exhibits where the animals in question might be hostile at times? Nah, too expensive. The zookeepers are gonna need that money to feed everybody anyway. Why not give the patrons of the Zoo a Wristband that will alert security if one is too close to the animals? Nah, also expensive…That, and it takes on sort of a “Big Brother/1984” vibe after a while. Cargo nets? Too cruel. Caging an animal with its cage? Too cruel. Moving the animal back to its original habitat……….Wait a minute, that might work! Oh, wait…no, because of the long readjustment time for the animal AND because the zoo would probably foot the bill for such an expensive flight (Ever fly to Africa? I haven’t, but I hear a round-trip coach ticket is almost impossible to get…yet the hotel rooms are surprisingly cheap–$100 a night at the Johannesburg Hyatt last time I checked).
So with all things rational/irrational to think of in terms of protecting both people and animals at zoos, there’s really only one other option that some would consider unthinkable…Why not just outlaw zoos altogether? I mean, I get that they’re there so that people can see parts of nature that they would otherwise have to circle the Earth to see up close; and more often than not, they’re there for the sake of wildlife preservation. But do you know where else wildlife can be preserved? How about WILDLIFE PRESERVATIONS. Animals can roam free, certainly in a wider space than any other zoo, and they can be with other members of their own kind. It certainly beats being cooped up in a seldom-cleaned cage all day. Nature in general is meant to be expansive and all-encompassing, Zoos defeat this purpose with due diligence. The animals get tired, cranky, neglected, mis-treated, and a whole list of other superlatives that ultimately do them more harm than good.
Harambe was a living being that was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time (and possibly for the wrong reasons), and he wound up dying because of just what kind of “wrong place” he called home and the reckless rules and regulations they have towards the safety of other living beings–justifiable or otherwise. Zoos had their fun, but as long as things like what happened with Harambe keep happening, Zoos are part of the problem. And if you STILL don’t believe me, I leave you today with quote/shared sentiment from possibly the Greatest. Living. American. Today!
“No More Zoos!”