The Reason I Don’t Own Pets Has To Do With Harambe the Ape

Posted on June 15, 2016 in Life, Theology by

HarambeOne reason I don’t own any pets is because I’d be a really bad pet owner.

I had pets growing up. Many of my friends and family today have pets. I don’t have any pets. My kids really like animals and would love to have a pet, but so far I’ve refused to get any pets. One reason for this decision is that I would be a really bad pet owner. I should probably explain that statement.

Pet ownership has gone to a whole new level of crazy in our culture. You can find pet spas, pet resorts, and all manner of comforts and conveniences for your pet: sweaters, shoes, lounge chairs and houses nicer than the people down the street. People now refer to themselves as parents simply because they own a pet and there is a section of greeting cards that is from the pet to the owner (who exactly fills out and signs that card?).

When I say I would be a bad pet owner it’s not because I abuse or neglect animals but because I treat them like…animals. I don’t buy pets expensive food, I don’t celebrate their birthday, and if you call me a parent because I own pets I’m liable to punch you in the throat. I don’t see animals as being on the same level as humans or in any way equal. So the lengths to which some people go to own a pet is beyond my comprehension. (I know a retired lady concerned about running out of money but she refuses to stop taking her dog to groomers or buying unbelievably expensive medicines.)

The fact that so many people have come to the conclusion that pets are “people too” and deserve to be treated the same as people is disturbing. We have elevated the animal kingdom to the level of human beings when only one of us was created in God’s image (see Genesis 1:26 ff). When God created man He did so in His own image and then told man to have dominion over the animal kingdom. The idea that animals would be elevated to equal status with humans is something God never intended.

And yet the death of an ape at the zoo has prompted a public outcry so great you would think people were mourning a great public figure.

First, let me say that I don’t in any way advocate animal cruelty. People that intentionally abuse animals should be punished. Just because mankind was given dominion over animals in no way means we can abuse them. All creatures should be treated with respect. If that means there needs to be reform in horse racing, dog shows, or flea circus’, so be it.

Second I want to say that it’s tragic that the ape, called Harambe, had to die. I’m not a zoologist or an ape expert, so I don’t know what other options could have been employed. While I wonder if the ape could have been tranquilized, I can’t help but think the experts at the Cincinnati zoo considered that options and concluded it would not have been in the best interest of the child they were seeking to save. So I am convinced that killing Harambe was the only way to ensure the child in harm’s way would be rescued safely.

But that seems to be the sticking point. Many people are upset that the zoo decided to save the child rather than the ape. Seriously? Are you really telling me that if your child was dragged by an ape and potentially in harm’s way that you would not be in favor of killing the ape to save your child? If that is your position please do me a favor and never have kids. If that was my kid I’m not entirely sure I would not have jumped into the enclosure to attempt rescuing my child myself.

Yet many people are upset because the ape died. Memorials are being erected, vigils are being held, Facebook pages are being created for an ape most people didn’t know existed. And I’m over here scratching my head wondering what the big deal is.

Blogger Matt Walsh accurately sums up the overreaction by people at the death of Harambe:

“The most troubling thing to come out of the incident is the reaction of people who think the gorilla should not have necessarily been sacrificed for the sake of the child. That itself is far, far more tragic than the death of the animal. And, to be clear, it is a wicked and indefensible position. Only a very sick, very troubled person would have difficulty deciding whose life should be prioritized when an ape and a human child clash. Only a person with contemptible, perverse values would, even for a moment, question the decision made by the police and the zoo. There is no real controversy here. It is very simple. And anyone who struggles with it is disturbed on a deep, spiritual level.”

I agree with this summation. Wishing for the parents to be fed to the lions, or for them to be jailed, or even for the child to be left alone to fend for himself is both indefensible and contemptible. The reality that some people have seemingly forgotten is that life matters. Human life matters. Every human life matters.

Walsh goes on to put this event into a perspective that people need to seriously consider:

“And now it is necessary to point out that today, while the media obsesses over an ape and thousands of people cry that they will ”miss” a zoo animal they didn’t even know existed on Friday, there will be another 125,000 abortions. On a daily basis, a group of people larger than the population of Provo, Utah are systematically exterminated. None of them are given a name, and there will be no candlelight vigils for any of these victims. While the ape was killed quickly and humanely, these children will not be given the same consideration. Depending on the trimester, the executions will be carried out in a variety of different ways. A common method, probably utilized hundreds of times each day, is called a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E). In this procedure, the abortionist pries open the mother’s cervix with a metal instrument, inserts a suction tube to extract the amniotic fluid, and then uses a pair of sharpened forceps to methodically tear the baby apart limb by limb.”

When was the last time you took time to mourn the tragic murder of the unborn? Each day I’m inundated with articles about abortion. Women that nearly die from the procedure, babies that survive and are left to die, mother’s that will never have children because of the side-effects. When did you last cry, share thoughts on Facebook, or reflect on this daily tragedy?

South Carolina pastor Perry Noble wonders:

“I wonder if the same 300,000 people have been equally bothered by Christians being beheaded/tortured in the Middle East?” he asked. “I wonder if the same 300,000 people were as upset when all of the dirt was exposed on Planned Parenthood? I wonder if the same 300,000 people were as upset when Dr. Kermitt Gosnell murdered a child after a botched abortion?”

The truth is that there is no controversy here. The zoo made the right decision and took appropriate action to save the life of a human being, a life far more valuable than that of an ape. It’s a decision any parent would make. It’s a decision I would make over and over and over again because human life is more valuable. If you don’t see it that way your moral compass is not quite right.

For Christians, let’s remember that Christ came to save people; He died for people, not animals. Jesus placed human beings infinitely above any other life when He died for us. Before we resolve to defend any animal’s rights we need to first focus on defending the life of every human being: unborn, born, elderly, ill. Every life matters.

Now you know why I would be a “bad pet owner.” I’m not upset about it. I’m upset that people care more about animals than they do about the murder or innocent unborn children. That’s the real tragedy.

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