Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Killed Intern Not Equivalent to Destroyed Lion


Maybe it’s just me, but this kind of apparent moral equivalence drives me crazy. The animal park in which the intern was killed by the lion has reopened–which is fine–but the owner has seemingly equated the dead woman and the destroyed lion shot by deputies. From the Time story:

A California animal sanctuary where an African lion killed a 24-year-old intern reopened to the public Sunday with the support of the victim’s family. Cat Haven, a private zoo run by the nonprofit Project Survival, observed a moment of silence at noon for Dianna Hanson, who was fatally attacked by the 550-pound male lion Wednesday. Cat Haven founder Dale Anderson said the park was returning to normal operations so the staff could focus on taking care of its remaining 29 wild cats, but “we continue to mourn the loss of two family members.”

Again, maybe it’s me because I am sensitive to even implied equivalencies made between the value of humans and animals: The lion is not the same as the person. It is not as if two cousins died. The tragedy of the woman is so profound. The destruction of the lion is regrettable, but not in the same category.


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