In May 2016 a gorilla was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young boy fell into the gorilla encounter. This gorilla, named Harambe, was a 17-year-old silverback gorilla, which unfortunately is an endangered species. The 3-year-old boy escaped when his mother wasn’t looking and ended up in the gorilla enclosure. From there, Harambe approached the little boy. Some say the gorilla was protecting the boy, but zoo Director Thane Maynard said, “We’re talking about an animal that I’ve seen crush a coconut with one hand, the child was being dragged around, his head was banging on concrete. This was not a gentle thing.”
According to an eye-witness, 4-5 minutes after the child entered the enclosure the gun was fired.
“We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” Maynard said.
This situation debates if the consequences of the gorilla being shot were good or bad. The intentions of the Dangerous Animal Response team were looking out for the safety of the child, making them good intentions. According to utilitarianism, intentions don’t matter only the actual results do. In this case, the actual results of the gorilla getting shot was a bad consequence. Peter Singer is an animal rights activist and brings up the point that anything that can suffer has moral rights. Therefore, the gorilla does have moral rights and shouldn’t be murdered in this rare occurrence. Although, the Cincinnati Zoo stated tranquilizing the 450-pound animal was not an option. This is an optimific debate of balancing good to bad consequences and comparing the ratio to see if the results were more good or more bad.