“Pray to understand what man has forgotten.” —Native American proverb
It’s been a tough several days of news for animal lovers. Right on the heels of the incident that resulted in the tragic death of Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo, the world-famous tiger temple in Thailand has been closed amidst evidence of wildlife trafficking.
In addition, in Miami, a judge dismissed the Orca Network’s case against Seaquarium for violations of the Endangered Species Act. Thanks to this ruling, Lolita—the orca captured at age 4 and kept in the smallest orca tank in the U.S. for 45 years—will not be allowed to live out the remainder of her life in a seaside sanctuary in her home waters where her relatives still live and travel together, protected.
What a sad world we live in, where parental negligence and human error and misjudgment can result in the killing of an innocent.
I’m talking about Harambe, the majestic 17-year-old western lowland gorilla shot to death at the Cincinnati Zoo over the weekend after a child slipped into his enclosure. Many in the public are outraged, questioning whether his death was even warranted. But there’s actually a larger issue here, one that most people aren’t talking about, as so eloquently stated by Steven M. Wise of the New York Daily News:
“The major problem is that the Cincinnati Zoo is legally permitted to treat such extraordinarily cognitively complex and gentle animals as slaves in order to sell tickets to gawkers, and that Harambe, like every other nonhuman animal, was a legal ‘thing’ that lacked the capacity for any legal rights, even the fundamental rights to his life and liberty.”