Tracy, I don’t disagree with you completely.
H. Nemesis Nyx

You didn’t offend me the first time H, but you have now. You apologise for being judgmental and then continue to be — “I could never do that to my son. I think it is just way too confining and restrictive. I also think it looks awful. My child isn’t a dog.”

My son wasn’t a dog. We didn’t use the harness much, but when we needed to keep him safe and he didn’t want to be in the pushchair or hold our hand, then we used it. He didn’t grow up fearful as you suggested children might in your previous piece. At eighteen, he left home to study abroad in a country where he knew no-one, and now he has many friends there. He has walked part of the Appalachian Trail, completed a Tough Mudder, marathons, half marathons. He is an energetic, courageous, and caring young man.

I don’t like the look of a harness either, but the look was a secondary consideration on the occasions when we did use it. I’m certainly not saying everyone should use a harness. As you say, it’s a parental choice and I agree.

I think we do place more value on human life than animal life. Whether we should is another matter, but we do. Otherwise the zoo would have left the situation to resolve itself. I was just saying that the zoo couldn’t have allowed that and even as someone who is passionate about animals and their welfare, I support their decision to prioritise the child’s safety in that moment. There is no question it was an accident — who would say otherwise — and blame isn’t healthy, but lessons must be learned by zoos and parents generally to avoid future killing of captive wild animals. Large wild animals shouldn’t be kept in zoos anyway, but that’s another discussion.

I enjoy your writing because you are kind, compassionate, and wise, but in your comments here, I feel you are still judging those who use a harness. We can agree to differ, so we don’t cause any further offence to each other.

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