The argument of killing an animal is a debate that has passionate opinions on both sides. But what happens when an animal is shot to protect a man who wants to die? This was the case at Santiago Metropolitan Zoo in Chile where two lions were killed when Franco Luis Ferrada jumped into their enclosure. It’s been reported he stripped naked, taunted the lions and baited them into mauling him in a suicide attempt.
Witnesses said the lions ignored the 20-year-old until he started taunting them. Zookeepers responded by hosing the lions with water and then firing a tranquiliser dart that hit Ferrada in the neck. When the lions were upon him a zookeeper opened fire with live rounds and killed them. Ferrada was taken to hospital in critical condition with wounds to his head and pelvis. It was confirmed by the police Ferrada had left a suicide note in his pocket.
Alejandra Montalva, the zoo director said “the zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us. The alarm sounded and chemical control arrived and an independent shooter arrived. The shooter decided to save the life of a person and unfortunately we had to sacrifice two members of our family.”
The incident has left many criticising zoo authorities, with reactions ranging from boycotts to questions about deadly force. The lions were provoked into attacking and Ferrada was fully aware of what he was doing. Dozens of people held a a candlelight vigil for the lions on Saturday night.
What’s your opinion on deadly force against animals and what do you think of the incident?