The Toronto Blue Jays are heroes to countless kids (and quite a few adults) across Canada. But there is nothing heroic about players posting photos to social media showing them posing with lion and tiger cubs in their dressing room.
Baby wild cats are undoubtedly adorable, and catching cubs instead of baseballs may seem like a fun team building exercise for players, but the use of young exotic animals as photo props often ends in tragedy for the animals involved.
After the cubs grow too big and dangerous for handling, they can end up chained in someone’s backyard as a “status pet”, bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, traded off to another zoo, or killed.
Exotic cats are wild animals, and can be dangerous. Every year, dozens of people in Canada and the US are attacked by captive big cats.
In 2010, a privately-owned Siberian tiger killed its owner in Toronto. The same tiger had mauled a ten-year-old boy in 2004.
In 2008, a martial arts instructor was attacked by a lion at the Bowmanville Zoo during a photo shoot.
And in 2007 a woman was killed by a tiger at a private zoo in BC owned by her fiancé.
Posing with these animals sends the message that playing with and keeping big cats as pets is fun and harmless.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We urge the Toronto Blue Jays to cease the practice of posing with wild animals for the safety of the animals involved and to set a good example for the kids who look up to the Blue Jays.
Wild animals belong in the wild—not kept as exotic pets, and surely not used as locker-room props for Instagram.
For more information about our efforts to protect big cats like tigers, visit our campaign page.
Article source: IFAW