English footballer Ben Chilwell has been called out by animal rights organizations for playing tug of war with a tiger at a theme park in Florida.

Source: Nostramo359/Youtube

The 25-year-old Premier League club Chelsea player was caught on video playing tug of war with the tiger through a cage. The cage has a special slot for the rope, which was covered in meat. Chilwell along with others, all try to tussle the rope from the tiger.

The incident happened at Busch Gardens zoo, which has had this attraction for at least a few years. The park confines numerous big cats and lets people play tug of war with the animal. The Tampa theme park’s ‘Tiger Tug’ attraction is made for customers to test their strength against the tiger. The RSPCA has spoken against Chilwell’s actions.

‘We don’t feel this activity promotes respect for these wild animals and should not be marketed for public entertainment. Zoos often state that their aim is to educate the public and have a positive influence on visitor behaviour in ways that will directly benefit conservation.”

“While we understand zoos which do this may feel that a ‘tug-of-war’ provides physical enrichment for big cats, there are many alternative ways of doing this.”

This happens just months after West Ham United player Kurt Zouma abused his cat and was fined £250,000. Both Zouma and his brother, who filmed the abuse, are now being prosecuted by RSPCA under the Animal Welfare Act.

Chilwell won’t face prosecution like Zouma but this event calls attention to the cruel practices of these zoos. Animals are confined in small cages and used to make a profit. The zoo is operated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which has had numerous animal rights violations and has notoriously been cruel to their animals in confinement.

Many times, captive tigers are drugged and beaten to perform these activities for the entertainment of customers. It is extremely cowardly for humans to participate in an activity like this that you would never do in the wild. We cannot cage animals because we want to “play” with them. Keeping animals captive is also extremely dangerous. They live sad and lonely lives and they easily become bored and anxious. There have been instances where tigers have attacked workers or customers that got too close or came into the cage. I’m sure you would be angry too if your freedom was taken from you and you had to spend the rest of your life in a cage entertaining others.

This is not ok, and animals are not meant to be used for entertainment. The poor tiger is locked in a cage when it should be out in the wild, living in its natural habitat. Sign this petition to ban animals from being used for entertainment!

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