What is everyone’s opinion on this? – Darius

Mimi Bekhechi of Independent writes:

Yet again, captivity has taken an animal’s life. The latest victim: a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe, who was gunned down after a young boy managed to crawl through a fence before falling into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The incident (which could have been prevented by surrounding the enclosure with a secondary barrier) has generated a great deal of debate online, some extreme – one tweet said, “[I]f you have to shoot – aim for the least endangered one,” while an Express columnist took the view that “zoo staff did what you might think all people would want: they put the human life first”. But arguing over whose life is more valuable misses the point. What we should be asking is why intelligent, self-aware animals are still being displayed as living exhibits for humans to gawk at.

Harambe and other animals serving life sentences in zoos are leading lives of quiet desperation. They are denied the most basic freedoms, including being able to choose where to roam, when and what to eat, and whom to socialise with. It’s no wonder that these magnificent animals frequently exhibit signs of extreme depression and related psychological conditions, such as pacing, rocking and eating their own vomit, which is unheard of in their wild counterparts, as they struggle with the confines of their captivity. They’re also prone to cardiac disease: in 2011, the Smithsonian Institution revealed that 30 of its gorillas were on heart medication.

Zoos try to justify their existence in the name of “conservation”, but warehousing animals in these facilities does nothing to help protect endangered animals in the wild. In fact, some say doing so actually harms wild populations because it diverts much-needed funds away from the protection of animals in their natural habitats.

Read more here.