Tigers are one of the most regal animals on the planet, enchanting humans with their beauty, grace, mystery, and strength for centuries. However, these days, the elegant and powerful felines have been reduced to mere commodities or house pets, with more tigers in backyards in the U.S. and tiger farms in China than there are in the wild (only around 3,200 tigers are believed to exist in the wild today!).
Famed photographer Paul Hilton, who showed us tourists punching tigers for selfies in China, took to Instagram to share another important image — one where a severely drugged tiger is being used to draw in crowds (and profits) at one of the countless wild animal tourist attractions in Asia.
It is estimated there are around 200 tiger breeding farms in China, with wineries on many of them to conveniently make “tiger bone wine,” a vile product made from, yes, tiger bones, that is idiotically believed to be an “aphrodisiac” (as if humans even need aphrodisiacs with our ever-growing overpopulation crisis destroying the planet as is!). The skins, of course, are also sold to the super wealthy, and these farms normalize the notion that killing tigers and selling their parts for hefty sums is acceptable, which, in turn, makes it so poachers and the illegal wildlife trade have a lucrative market to participate in, especially since farmed tiger parts tend to be pricier.
When these glorious animals are still alive, they are still exploited for profit. These breeding facilities often mask themselves as safaris or sanctuaries, when in fact they are little different than livestock breeding operations. “Speed breeding” is the norm, where cubs are immediately taken away from their mothers at birth so they can be used as selfie props and the mothers can become pregnant again as soon as possible. As the above photo shows, adult tigers are also used as props, but not before they are severely abused and drugged.
Social media and dating apps like Instagram and Tinder have told users to stop posting wild animal selfies, which is a fantastic move to help shine a light on and spread awareness of the very serious issue and place a taboo or stigma on visiting these types of attractions. (Who is going to swipe right on or slide into the DMs of someone who supports blatant animal cruelty?!) You can do your part to stop this disgusting tiger trade by never visiting a facility or attraction that exploits animals for a profit. If tourists can directly interact with or take photos with the animals, it is a sure sign you should not support them.
Of course, spreading awareness has immense power to ignite change. Most people are clueless about these tiger breeding farms and are still starry-eyed with the idea of posting a killer selfie with a tiger for likes, so please help do your part to spread awareness by SHARING this with your network!
Image Source: paulhiltonphoto/Instagram