Jill Stein marks three months since gorilla Harambe’s death
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Three months after a zoo worker in Cincinnati shot Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is calling for expanded legal protections for animals.

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Harambe’s death was national news in late May and sparked controversy among animal-rights activists, who questioned whether the killing was justified.

The gorilla was shot after it grabbed a 3-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure. It raised scrutiny over whether apes, man's closest relatives, should be kept in zoos at all.

“The killing of Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo highlights the need to adopt stronger legal protections for the rights of animals,” Stein said in a statement.

Stein tweeted out her statement on Sunday afternoon, writing that the killing “reminds us to be a voice for the voiceless.”

 

 

She noted that European countries have granted legal rights and protected status to primates as living beings.

“Non-human primates should have the legal right to live freely or, when necessary, in sanctuaries only for medical rehabilitation or ecological assistance for endangered species,” she said.

The debate over Harambe, whose death has also inspired several online memes, has quietly raged in pockets of the liberal intelligentsia for months.

Matthew Yglesias, a columnist who covers economics and politics for Vox Media, reported on Twitter Sunday that he overheard two people arguing “non-ironically” over Harambe in D.C.’s Logan Circle park.

Last week, a columnist for Time urged readers to let go of the tragedy.

“Harambe the gorilla is dead. Get over it,” wrote contributor Darlena Cunha.

She warned that the debate over Harambe’s death threatens to spiral out of control  by giving internet mischief-makers opportunity to exploit it for dumb one-liners and racist jokes.

“There are more than 170 petitions on Change.org related to Harambe, including calls [to] erect a White House statue of the gorilla and change the name of Cincinnati to ‘Harambe City,’ ” she reported.

Stein in her statement described Harambe’s fate as “catastrophic” and lamented that his life in captivity had been exploited to make money and entertain Ohioans, a demographic usually venerated by politicians.

“Harambe was killed by a zoo which raises revenues by selling tickets to see captive animals, including primates,” she said. “While good emergency staff training might have prevented such a catastrophic outcome, the Green Party believes that captivity for such entertainment is ethically wrong and fundamentally exploitive and should be illegal.”

A poll released last week by Quinnipiac University shows Stein has 4 percent support nationwide in the presidential race.

A CBS News/YouGov survey from earlier in the month showed her with 2 percent support in Ohio.