Prioritising ourselves over animals

Is the life of an animal worth less than that of a human?

Camillia Dass

Published: 1 July 2016, 1:02 PM

Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increasing number of cases of animals being killed due to human error. One of the most highly publicised cases happened on June 16.

A two-year-old boy was playing by the edge of a lagoon at the Disney World Resort in Orlando when an alligator grabbed the child and dragged him into the lake. His father tried to rescue him but was unable to do so in time.

The boy’s body was later found the next day by divers that worked through the night.


Alligator sightings are common in Orlando, with 257 unprovoked attacks reported between 1948 and 2016.


However, during their search for the boy, five alligators from that lake were euthanised to find out if any of them killed the boy. Five innocent alligators, if I may add.

My question is, why kill the five alligators? This is not the first case of animals being put down for human error. On June 22, a wild jaguar was shot after it escaped from its handlers during the Olympic torch ceremony in Brazil.

When I heard about this, I was horrified. A wild animal was ripped from its home, chained up, and paraded around for photos. But it was simply shot when it exhibited behaviour that is typical of a wild jaguar. How unfair.


The jaguar, Juma, at the ceremony with its handlers.
Photo credit:


Like the alligator case, there is no reasonable reason to kill a wild animal just because they cannot be domesticated and refuse to behave the way as we want them to. We are not respecting the wild as we should.

Personally, I think it is inhumane and selfish to prioritise human lives over animals. Just because we feel angry when a wild creature attacks one of our own, we seek justice by killing five of them, which is horribly unfair.

As humans, we all have an instinct to protect our own kind first, which is fine. But we cannot forget that animals are living creatures too. We just have to learn to live alongside them.

In a statement made against the Jaguar shooting, Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: “When will we learn? Wild animals held captive and forced to do things that are frightening, sometimes painful, and always unnatural are ticking time bombs — our actions put them and humans at risk.”

In this day and age, many species are going extinct and we only have ourselves to blame. It is time we start putting more value to the lives of animals as we do with humans because animals do not exist simply for our amusement.

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