AM 760 KFMB - Talk Radio Station - San Diego, CA - Toddlers, Gorillas, and Outrage – OH MY!

Toddlers, Gorillas, and Outrage – OH MY!

Updated: May 31, 2016 11:12 PM

Is it terrible that animals are kept in captivity? Yes. It’s completely understandable that humans are holding these animals “hostage,” to an extent.

It’s understandable that we can never really expect or project the actions these animals will carry out on any given day. However, a new controversy has emerged from the Midwest involving a young boy, a gorilla and some sort of executive action.

A 3-year-old boy was hospitalized with serious injuries and a gorilla was shot dead after officials said the boy climbed through a railing and fell into a moat at the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla enclosure. A 17-year-old, 400-pound male lowland gorilla, Harambe, was shot and killed by the zoo’s dangerous animal response team about 10 minutes after the boy made it into the enclosure. (WLWT-TV)

Surely, the very first questions that had people outraged were, “Where was this boy’s parent(s)? Why were they not watching him as he fell into the exhibit where this gorilla was living?”

Is that such an offense? What’s wrong with asking the tough questions? Parents are somewhat at fault here. No matter which city’s zoo you attend, you must pay attention to your children to the degree you would in any retail establishment or place of business.

Let’s take a look at what the video showed us. The gorilla, according to zoo director Thane Maynard, “was violently dragging and throwing the child.” This is very scary, even for a man who doesn’t have a child. I would be terrified, even if it weren’t my child and I would want to do everything I could to limit the effects this child sustains from interacting with such a wild animal. Thank goodness the child is okay after being released from the hospital.

One question that people may ask is, “How is the zoo going to prevent something like this from happening again?” Are you going to put up higher barriers, therefore limiting the view for kids and parents to see these animals on display? Are you going to increase the distance from where they’ll be able to ooh and aah at these wild beasts for the protection of your customers?

It’s most certainly possible. I’m just a little reluctant to give in to such drastic measures. There will likely be an extensive review of what actually transpired and what can be done in the future to avoid such a scare.

Put yourself in the position of the employees and zookeepers of the establishment if this situation were to arise. You likely have a policy and protocol to follow should a situation like this arise. This is a perfect scenario for which you’ve trained to become the zookeeper you are.

I totally understand when the zoo’s director says that the safety of the child is paramount. This is so true. Police, firefighters, and emergency medical staff are instructed to execute such actions when in the line of duty. You most certainly don’t want to risk the safety of children.

Let’s look at a bigger issue: zoos as “sideshows for humans,” this according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I’m going to say it right away that I’m in favor of zoos. You may think I’m a bad person. You may think I need electro-shock therapy. You may think I need some sort of mental health supervision.

Sure, that’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. I respect that opinion. However, I’m all about a capitalistic society. If a zoo wants to showcase animals to bring families, therefore bringing revenue into their business, then why should we stop them from doing so?

Should most wild animals be, for lack of a better phrase, out in the wild? I wouldn’t object to this idea. Animals have been roaming the earth for many years longer than humans. They’ve learn to sustain themselves for what it’s worth.

It’s scary to think that humans who hunt for game and hunt to stay alive and, in the process, extinguish species of animals, or push species to the verge of extinction. It’s really scary to think that certain classes of animals might no longer be on this great planet after we keep them in captivity and/or we hunt them down for pleasure/survival.

Here’s what I ultimately decide: I think it’s a shame that such exclusive animals are in danger of being completely wiped off the face of the planet. We should put them back out in the wild. However, if zoos continue to exist, parents, children and families of all kinds will continue to frequent these businesses for years to come.

No amount of opposition, like PETA and others, will be able to completely shut down zoos and places like Sea World, no matter how hard they try. Also, parents should keep a closer eye on their kids. I know that’s easy for me to say as a man with no kids, but sometimes the truth hurts.

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