Letters
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Gorilla's shooting is no laughing matter

Letter as published on The Journal News
June 8, 2016

Re "Harambe incident at Cincinnati Zoo every parent's nightmare," June 2 column:

Shame on Dan Bova for making light of an avoidable tragedy and blithely dismissing parental responsibility, in the death of a captive gorilla. “People went apesh--t" and "pounded their chests” — he can joke about this elsewhere.

Yes, accidents happen — a bolt of lightning hits you, a tree crushes your house; an unattended 3-year-old in an area full of presumptive “wild animals” who tells his distracted mother he wants to go into the enclosure is an accident waiting to happen. Huge difference. Millions of children visit these facilities without falling in — let’s not whitewash this.

Spouting “people first” has disguised a multitude of sins; this stops now.

Zoos keep intelligent, sentient animals in these prisons; they must ensure their safety as well as the safety of the public. The fact that this $8 million-per-year zoo didn't even attempt to avoid slaughter, but instead, did nothing for 15 minutes — then relied on other animal exploiters like Jack Hanna to defend them — is totally unacceptable. Zoos aren't there to babysit. This has happened before; yet, the zoo had no plan other than killing. They have also repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act. Trackers have shown zoo attendees do little more than gawk and throw garbage at the animals; and think about what happens to those animals when they are no longer young?

Zoos teach us it’s O.K. to dominate and enslave animals, which is bad enough. We must not excuse away lax treatment — by zoos or attendees.

Kiley Blackman
Tuckahoe

The writer is founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester.

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