Is everyone following this story? I caught it yesterday in the LA Times. Rocky, a massive, trained grizzly under the care of Predators In Action, bit and killed his trainer, Stephan Miller. Predators In Action is, of course, the Show Biz animal training facility that specializes in bears and big cats. Miller was working with the bear, putting him through a series of repetitive training moves when the bear just went, “chomp” and Miller was dead within minutes.
What’s fascinating to me is in today’s follow-up, in which Miller’s co-workers insist that Rocky should not be killed. As horrible as the tragedy is, and as traumatic it must have been for the other trainers on the scene, they point out that it’s the risk that they all take.
These are wild animals, they say, not Beanie Babies.
It would be easy to fall into the punitive trap and execute the bear, but it seems that there’s a healthy resistance to that among the people who knew Miller. Of course, it goes without saying, Rocky’s career in pictures is probably finished. I mean, imagine if Ben Affleck killed Michael Bay with a quick bite to the neck. Even in play, that would but a dent in his career (note: the analogy ends there, because I dunno how many people would jump in front of the firing squad.)
If the Grizzly is, in fact, spared he’ll probably wind up in a zoo. And that’s probably okay. But I wonder what people think? Should Rocky live or die? What if the person on the receiving end of that bite had been your friend or lover or co-worker?
Photo credit: Jean-Guy Dallaire