This past Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden a four year old boy scrambled past a protective barrier and fell about fifteen feet into the “Gorilla World” exhibit. A male gorilla named Harambe subsequently began dragging and injuring the boy. Zookeepers then responded to the scene where the gorilla was shot and killed. The animal belonged to an endangered species of gorilla. The boy was transported to a children’s hospital in Cincinnati for treatment.
The killing of the gorilla has brought widespread criticism in the days that have passed since. Many have challenged the zoo’s rapid response to the situation and called into question whether or not the animal’s execution was justified. All kinds of responses have circulated the web, from chastising the boy’s mother for negligence to protesting that, if needed, the boy should have died rather than the gorilla because human beings are not an endangered species. Some are even petitioning that charges be brought against the parents of the boy.
The Cincinnati Zoo is standing by its decision to take the life of the animal in order to save the boy. Tranquilizers, they explain, could have made the situation much worse by agitating the animal further. With a situation going from bad to worse, the zoo made the decision to end the animal’s life rather than risk the boy’s safety any further.
While it is not surprising that there are animal rights activists infuriated by this event, what is surprising is what appears to be the widespread sentiment for the executed gorilla and the scorn and disdain directed at the boy and his mother. And what is most shocking is the assertion being made by many that this boy’s life was not as valuable as that of the endangered primate. With all the publicity this story is getting, we see evidence of the societal devaluing of human life on display. It’s important that Christians remind themselves of a few key biblical truths at this point. Continue reading