If you’re mourning Harambe, go vegan
On Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo, a gorilla was shot dead after a child climbed in to his enclosure. Naturally, people are unhappy about it.
Harambe, a 17-year-old resident at Gorilla World was killed to save the life of a four-year-old boy who climbed through the public barrier and dropped fifteen feet into the exhibit’s moat. So while press releases and statements from those involved emphasize the safety and security of the zoos visitors as a necessary priority, social media response has been largely in favour in Harambe, and pointing fingers at the parents of the boy who is responsible for this whole ordeal.
Naturally, animal rights activists have had their say, with RIP memes and hashtags flooding my feed. But while we all mourn the needless death of Harambe, we forget the death sentences that are more frequently and less publicly handed down to other less revered animals in order to accommodate human needs. In this case, the safety of a boy was directly in question (though heavily debated). In most, it’s just what’s for dinner.
So many times I see self proclaimed animal lovers up in arms over matters like these, missing the big picture. To object to the zoos decision to kill Harambe without objecting to zoos is to support them having Harambe, his still enclosed female companions, and all other animals on display. How many people will wish Harambe had a better life, without realizing that supporting zoos, animal use in fashion, and eating animal products is the reason why a being like Harambe found himself in this untimely narrative? If we don’t consistently contest the use of all animals, nothing will change. It’s not unlike the animals who were unnecessarily harmed for selfies, or Cecil the Lion’s 15 minutes of fame for being hunted for sport. The speciesism of believing one animal is more deserving than other allows our society to continue exploiting them all.
People already believe and feel that animals matter morally, and that they don’t deserve to be killed without reason. If you wish there had been another way to help the boy that didn’t hurt Harambe, you already believe in veganism. Shooting Harambe was no worse than raising a pig to slaughter for bacon. Sure, he had a name and an enclosure you could visit him in, but he was still property; he was still exploited for human gain. Debating the efficacy of barriers, parenting skills, and captive animal safety misses the point.
Spare all animals and go vegan.
Photo from BBC News