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Jason Denayer, a former Manchester City defender, recently caused a stir by publicly walking his pet tiger and is now facing backlash from Animal rights advocates. The 27-year-old Belgian player, who spent five years at Manchester City but never made the first team, has also played for Sunderland, Celtic, and the French club Lyon. Currently, he’s playing for Shabab Al-Ahli, a club in the UAE Pro League.

Source: Man City/Youtube

Denayer took to Instagram to share a video of himself guiding the tiger on a rusty chain, whimsically captioning the post as “Walking my cat.” Aware of the potentially negative reactions, he limited the comments on his post to only his followers. The majority of the comments were positive, praising him as “The Lion King with his tiger,” “You’re the best,” and “The boss.”

However, Denayer isn’t the first footballer to face backlash for interacting with exotic animals. Former Manchester United striker Memphis Depay stirred controversy in 2020 when he shared pictures with a baby liger, a lion-tiger hybrid. Animal rights organizations were quick to criticize him.

Tigers and other exotic animals are not meant to be pets. They need specialized care and natural environments to live healthily. Placing them in unnatural settings can cause them undue stress and suffering. The illicit trade of exotic animals is a significant danger to wildlife populations and their natural habitats. It also presents public health and safety risks. Owning an exotic pet may fuel the demand for this illegal wildlife trade, further threatening endangered species.

As we become more conscious of animal welfare and Conservation issues, it’s vital for everyone, especially public figures, to make informed and responsible decisions about their interactions with animals. Advocating for the respectful treatment of animals, including discouraging the ownership of exotic pets, contributes to a more sustainable and compassionate world.

If the demand for exotic pets did not exist, the exotic pet trade would not exist. So, if you agree that keeping exotic animals as pets is cruel, don’t Support it either. Do not buy from pet shops or dealers. Leave the wild in the wild.

Animal shelters are filled with cats and dogs who need loving families and homes. You can also Support the legislation to ban the ownership of exotic animals. With over 200 million live animal trades having taken place since 1975, it is vital that governments crack down on this cruel trade to protect individual animals and threatened species.

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