Tigers are used quite significantly in the tourist/entertainment industry, for petting, in circuses and zoos. For many travellers, getting up close and personal with a big cat, or a baby big cat, is a once in a lifetime event, with the obligatory selfie to prove it. However, the life of a tiger in captivity used for petting is far from ‘magical’.
Unfortunately, this a fast-growing industry, World Animal Protection reported that in Thailand alone the industry increased by 1/3 in the five years, from 2010-2015. Tiger cubs are taken from their mothers at as young as 2 weeks, many sedated. Cubs are mishandled by tourists up to 100 times a day; fear, pain and even starvation is used to curb aggression. Animals are often kept in small cramped enclosures with limited access to water, neglected with no proper veterinary treatment, many demonstrating stereotypical behaviour.
Life in the circus replicates this treatment with the added threat of violence to ensure animals will perform for audiences. There are many incidences of tigers retaliating during performances and attacking other circus animals and handlers. Tigers are a species in crisis with less then 4,000 left in the wild globally. Yet there are 5,000 captive tigers in the USA alone. Tigers are wild animals and do not engage with humans naturally. Tigers should be viewed in their natural habitat and allowed to live as nature intended. Please do not support this cruelty by visiting attractions that allow close contact with tigers or hamper their natural behaviour through captivity.
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