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Lions shot in Chile - man entered deliberately

Should the zookeepers have shot dead the lions?

  • Yes, a human life was at stake

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, the lions should not have be punished for the man's decision

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, to prevent the public from witnessing a mauling

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3
W

winter.frost

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So this raises interesting ethical issues. See this BBC article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-36352593

A young man in Chile forcefully entered a lion pen, then stripped down, at a zoo in an apparent suicide bid. Zookeepers shot dead the two lions that were on the attack because they had 'no fast-activating tranquilisers' to hand. The zoo said it has a protocol which details prioritising human life at all costs.

For the sake of discussion, try to set aside the fact that these animals were being held in captivity (we have a thread on the subject of zoos elsewhere). How do you feel about this?

Personally, if they didn't have tranquillisers to hand, I do not think the zoo should have interfered. I say this not because I don't have empathy for the young man - perhaps he is mentally ill, perhaps he made a rational decision (we cannot know, and I am generally pro choice). However the fact that he chose such a violent end does suggest both illness and a lack of responsible awareness (perhaps a symptom of said aforementioned illness): it was a public act, and one that jeopardised the lives of other beings (in this case, the lions).

The lions, however, responded healthily given their nature and captive state. A weaker, naked prey walks into their domain, to pounce is their more natural response. So we have two healthy lives, already captive, and one distressed human still able to exercise freedom of will. Is it so easy to say that his life was worth more?

But I suppose we are not just talking about the young man's life, we must also consider the more 'innocent' onlookers no doubt visiting with their younger children. We must consider the trauma of watching the young man get mauled (which he still did before shots were fired, however he is being treated for his injuries now). I suppose, in the status quo, being privy to the pain of the man would be far more traumatic than watching the two lions die (we can assume the shots were a cleaner death, I think). The new question then becomes: are the lives of two lions worth more than the life of a suicidee and the psychological health of tens of onlookers (children and adults both)?

Can we weigh a life against the psychological health of another? I don't think it is unhealthy to witness the might of other animals - too often we view them sedated, removed, caged, assuaged and bribed. This is a reminder that man is not all-powerful and I think that is a good thing to remember. If my children had been there that is what I would tell them - not to make them frightened, but to help teach them respect for other species. (And then I would probably have taken them home for vegan ice cream and a good hug.)

This is a very complex situation even though one's gut reaction might, instantly, sway opinion one way or the other. I care deeply about the psychological health of others, but I simply care about the overall existence of life more. At the end of it all, two lives were lost instead of one or none. However I am approaching this from an animist's perspective. I entirely accept and respect the fact that not all might share my opinion - as I said, this is a very complex ethical quandary.

If zoos are to exist I think it is wholly irresponsible not to carry fast-acting tranquillisers in readiness for circumstances such as this. I hope that this will teach said zoo, and others, a lesson in preparation.
 
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Sally

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No tranquillisers, unsecured pens, what kind of a zoo is this?

Children witness animals killing animals on television all the time, the Sainted David Attenborough sees to that. Sorry, can't stand the man. They understand that if a man is there he will have a gun and kill any animal that threatens a human, and this is what happened again. There is not always a man with a gun. At a zoo I've seen parents allowing their children to put their hands through the bars, luckily there were two sets of bars.

Had they not shot the lions it would have been a lesson never forgotten for the spectators, but the Human law states that the lions had to go. I think humanity says that the lions were innocent and should not be held accountable. Suicide that involves others is a selfish act, think of people who throw themselves under trains, and the man should be charged when he is better for the murder of two lions.
 
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winter.frost

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Suicide that involves others is a selfish act, think of people who throw themselves under trains, and the man should be charged when he is better for the murder of two lions.
I agree with most of what you say in your post, but when person becomes as desperate as to be suicidal I don't think selfishness is something they think about and - even so - that is a very hard responsibility to give to someone who is feeling that way since they are barely capable of considering their own life (let alone the lives of others). I would tell a person who is thinking about suicide to be so selfish that they choose to live somehow, that they find a way to do so and ask themselves over and over if it's what they really want. I would not ask such a person to take on more than they can handle. But then, I stress, we are not equipped to deal with such problems here and I am not at all qualified for it other than my personal experiences. Unfortunately, forums on this topic generally do not exist (they are susceptible to being hazardous). However I do believe that one life is worth plenty more than the length of a thousand commutes.

If the man is charged he will (or should) still be treated as though mentally unwell, because he was probably unwell at the time of the incident. One cannot/should not be lawfully tried for an act, retrospectively, as though they were sane. The sentence should be appropriate to the state of mind at the time. Not knowing about his motivations, I am not inclined to lay any blame at his feet but at the policies of this particular zoo.
 

Sally

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Yes, you are probably right about suicide. Although suicide bombers do it for heavenly reward. Maybe it wasn't a suicide attempt in this man's case, maybe he just wanted to be a lion. Perhaps the lions wouldn't have hurt him. Regarding the trains, I wasn't thinking about the passengers but the train driver who has to deal with the fact that he has killed someone. That must be very hard. It must be a train driver's worst nightmare.
 
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winter.frost

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I wasn't thinking about the passengers but the train driver who has to deal with the fact that he has killed someone. That must be very hard. It must be a train driver's worst nightmare.
They actually get special psychological training for this before they are qualified to take on their jobs, especially on the London Underground. And thank heavens for it, those poor drivers.
 

Lorraine

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Personally/emotionally, I do not believe the staff should have intervened. The actions of the man involved - although undoubtedly sad - unnecessarily dragged two lions to their deaths.

Objectively, it's evident the zoo staff did not have a choice - considering the ramifications of inaction in such a case (and bearing in mind the fact they were inadequately prepared).
 

Nekodaiden

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So this raises interesting ethical issues. See this BBC article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-36352593

A young man in Chile forcefully entered a lion pen, then stripped down, at a zoo in an apparent suicide bid. Zookeepers shot dead the two lions that were on the attack because they had 'no fast-activating tranquilisers' to hand. The zoo said it has a protocol which details prioritising human life at all costs.

For the sake of discussion, try to set aside the fact that these animals were being held in captivity (we have a thread on the subject of zoos elsewhere). How do you feel about this?

No problem with the zoo’s policy in this area. Given the permission to ignore the ethics of the animal captivity for entertainment (what a zoo is) for the sake of this discussion – I’d honestly have to seriously consider whether I’d want to be in any kind of wilderness environment with someone who sided with the lions. If you have to hesitate and consider whether it’s moral to kill a being who is able and very likely to end your life or another human’s within your sphere of influence – whether that being be a lion, tiger, venomous snake or spider, or a mosquito that can carry dengue fever -



Then given the choice I’d travel alone or with someone I knew didn’t have this dilemma. As far as I am aware, the only people who might even have the question before their minds are the animal rights focus Vegans. It honestly leads others to think that in some cases these people may value an animal’s life above a human’s life, maybe even their own which definitely has moral implications. Sorry mate, the lion was hungry and I don’t like you much.