Wednesday, June 1, 2016


What started out as a delightful day at the Cincinnati Zoo quickly turned into a disaster as a 4-year-old boy was repeatedly dragged across a moat by a 450-pound male gorilla.

The gorilla was shot and killed by zoo employees and the child escaped the incident with a concussion, minor cuts and bruises.

But, what seemed like a clear win in the midst of a potentially devastating situation has sparked global outcry from animal rights activists who believe the gorilla’s life should have been spared.

Can you even believe that we are debating the value of a child’s life against that of an animal?

Regardless of the events leading up to the boy’s fall into the gorilla exhibit, the fact remains that the child was at risk.

Despite popular misconception, there was no other viable option available at the time to assure to life of the boy was saved.

The zoo clearly made the right call in shooting and killing the 17-year-old gorilla.

Using a tranquilizer would have taken too long and likely would have agitated the gorilla, potentially leading him to attack the young boy.

As celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna explained, “you wouldn’t want to see what would happen” if the gorilla were shot with a tranquilizer dart.

If the boy were your child, you would not be requesting for the zoo to wait and see what happens or put the safety of your son at further risk by attempting to tranquilize a large, dangerous animal.

Come back down to reality, people.

Animals are not human beings.

When it comes down to the safety of a human or an animal, there is simply no other option but to protect the human being.

Empathizing with the gorilla, as we do with our own pets, is understandable, but we must hold human life with greater regard.

A split second is all it would have taken for tragedy to occur, and nothing would have justified saving the life of this gorilla and potentially losing the life of this young child.

• Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. The author’s views are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

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