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As an animal lover, if someone were to make you this offer, would you accept?

You can pet, play with and bottle feed this cub and we’ll take a picture of you so you can share it with your friends – BUT, it means one of the following will happen to this cub once he/she is too big for this anymore:

  • This cub will suffer the rest of his/her life in a cage without proper food or care.
  • This cub will be shipped off to a hunting ranch to be shot for a price.
  • This cub will be slaughtered for the exotic meat market.
  • This cub will be sold off at auction to the highest bidder, fate unknown.
  • This cub will be killed for parts and bones for the medicinal market.
  • This cub will be lost in the illegal black market trade of exotic animals.

We know you’d never say “yes” to any of these. You love animals. That’s why you want this experience. But, that’s exactly what you agree to when you say “yes” to this thrill-of-a-lifetime offer.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about tourist attractions in South Africa, Mexico, or the United States. Sadly, this is the fate for so many cubs bred for money-making ventures like these. A former exhibitor of our white tigress Nikita said her owner could make $5,000 each week offering animal interactions like this. It’s obvious, money is what drives the industry – and the breeding.

But someone is surely regulating this, right?

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) feels there should be no contact with cubs under the age of eight weeks since that’s when they receive their first disease-preventing injections. They also feel there should be no contact with cubs over 12 weeks old since they can be dangerous even at that young age. But these are just guidelines, not regulations. If breeders/exhibitors were to follow these guidelines, it means a cub used for public contact would have a “shelf life” of only four weeks! What does this encourage? Rampant breeding and not following these guidelines. Where do they all go when they’re too old and can no longer be used for public contact? Refer to the list above.

17950978528_6c15a05a5a_zTambako the Jaguar/Flickr

Don’t inspectors make sure everything’s ok for these cubs?

In 2011 in the United States, there were only 105 USDA inspectors to monitor almost 8,000 facilities, ranging from slaughterhouses, pet stores, pet breeders and dealers, farm, laboratories and other animal-related businesses. That’s nearly one inspector for every 80 facilities! When traveling exhibitors often move these cubs all over the country to fairs, festivals, and malls, relying on inspectors to ensure quality of care for them is unrealistic. And even when cubs are being exhibited when they’re too young or too old, violators aren’t cited unless an inspector is there to personally see serious harm to the cub – screaming and squirming isn’t enough.

Doesn’t touching a tiger or lion help promote conservation since we’re losing them in the wild?

As more and more of these cub petting attractions spring up everywhere, guess what? Tigers and lions in the wild are endangered and becoming nearly extinct. In fact, touching a cub does nothing to conserve their cousins in the wild.

Tragically, it may be doing the opposite. If you can visit a facility to pet a tiger cub, then why protect them half a world away where you may never see them? Studies have shown that public interaction with captive wild animals has done very little to cause the public to donate to conservation in the wild. And there’s been no successful release of a captive-born tiger or lion to date. When a cub needs to be with its mother for at least two years to learn survival skills, this simply isn’t something humans can duplicate. So, the answer is “no,” touching a lion or tiger cub in no way helps save them in the wild.


What can we do?

Together, let’s be their voice and assure no more cubs suffer an awful fate.

Lead image source: Flickr

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21 comments on “The Hidden Cruelty Behind Cute Exotic Cat Cub Petting Attractions”

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Jenn Loscalzo
4 Months Ago

I'm with Denise.

Michael Taylor
4 Months Ago

Close the fuckers down.

Denise Raney Bentley
4 Months Ago

=( how about some more up lifting stories to shift the positive energy? =)

Sarah Sherry
6 Months Ago

Austin Mcallister

Corrina Faulkner
6 Months Ago

Leave animals in their own habitat. They shouldn't have human contact. It's all for human greed

Rhoeas Papaver
6 Months Ago

Horrific abuse is their abomination

Tony Katava
6 Months Ago

This article is Bulls$hit. I do agree that the conditions you mention exist in some places and those places should be shut down. However, to blatantly lie and say it's true everywhere shows either an outrageous level of ignorance or intentional deception. Clearly, your goal is not to protect animals but only to serve your sick agenda of eliminating all contact between humans and fauna. Guess what, the fairyland called 'The Wild' you think these animals belong in doesn't exist any longer. You want to do actual good, go after the specific causes of poaching or canned hunting. Address human overpopulation, address the impact of climate change on habitat, address poverty and religious/political extremism that fuels the black market trade. To sit back and proclaim all zoos are bad, all circuses are bad, all animal sanctuaries are bad only points out your laziness and calls into question your level of integrity.

Mark Garfinkle
6 Months Ago


Traci Riddell
6 Months Ago

Here in South Africa, the cute little lion cubs go to canned hunting farms for hunters to shoot from a fenced in area. Terribly sick and sad, but not illegal....:(

Susan Coatney
21 Nov 2015

It's so sad to see any animal harmed. And in such barbaric ways as to cage them to kill them. It hurts my soul that people believe this is sport. :(

Traci Riddell
21 Nov 2015

Have you seen Blood Lions Susan?

Monika Jacquet
21 Nov 2015

sickening !

Fitna Franzke
6 Months Ago

Thank you OGP for the informations , for searching the truth and lies behind all appearing nice facades but the real they are devilish


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