There is nothing more adorable than a baby tiger cub, right? They have the sweetest little faces and their stripes looks amazingly large compared to their small bodies. Getting the chance to cuddle one of these little ones would truly be a dream come true – don’t you think? Well turns out lots of places across the U.S. – and beyond – offer opportunities to do just that. All you have to do is pay (maybe around $50+) and you can hold, snuggle, bottle feed, and even take selfies with real-life tiger cubs! Sounds great on the surface … but it’s what’s lurking under that surface that makes these opportunities so incredibly dangerous – for tiger cubs and people alike.
In this undercover investigation by PETA, recorded at Dade City’s Wild Things in Florida, we get insight into what facilities that allow interactions with tiger cubs are really like. In short, they’re profit-driven organizations that couldn’t care less about the welfare of these animals. The first indication of this is the sheer fact that they breed tigers in captivity – keeping these wild, endangered animals, in an environment that is nothing close to what their native habitat is like. But beyond that, this video shows handlers smacking the cubs, yanking them out of cages, stepping over a dead cub as if it were nothing at all, forcing them to swim, and engaging them in dangerous interactions with visitors. Allowing guests to handle cubs at such a young age compromises the tiger’s immune system and it also makes the guests susceptible to the illnesses cubs might have contracted.
Beyond this Dade City’s Wild Things staff are shown drowning other animals in cages, neglecting to give a sick parrot and leopard treatment, and actively beating other animals on the property.
So while getting the chance to hold and cuddle animals might seem like an opportunity that is too good to pass up, we urge you to consider the cost to the animals. There are more tigers in the U.S., used as entertainment props than there are left in the wild. That is a serious problem, and it is driven by people who pay to see these animals.
We can all take a stand against cruelty by sharing the truth and encouraging others to boycott these cruel facilities. It’s up to us to keep wild animals, wild!