When Justin Bieber isn’t abandoning his former pet monkey in Germany, he’s apparently petting Bengal tigers on leashes. Such was the case in Toronto, where Bieber was attending his father’s engagement party.
The 22-year-old musician shared a photo on Instagram of himself stroking the tiger, which was quickly met with backlash on social media.
Michael Hackenberger, a co-owner of the zoo, is currently facing animal cruelty charges after PETA released a video showing Hackenberger allegedly whipping a young male tiger 19 times.
Hackenberger is best known around the Hollywood circuit as an animal trainer who has provided animals to productions that include Seth Rogen’s “The Interview” and Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi.”
This event, which follows the jarring news of a leashed tiger cub named Nahla found wandering the streets of Texas, paints an inaccurate picture that suggests wild animals on leashes, and in close contact with humans, is a natural occurrence.
The truth is that captive exotic animals like tigers are taken away from their homes in the wild or their mothers at a young age — then, they’re forced to lead unnatural lives, often at the expense of their comfort.
We can only hope the Bieber family learns a lesson from this stunt. After all, there are so many other ways to enjoy wildlife while still keeping it fun for both the humans and animals involved.
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