This Zoo Lets Its Visitors Play a Cruel Game With Their Big Cats

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Owner of the Dartmoor Zoo Benjamin Mee
In this edition of "Zoos Behaving Badly," we take a trip across the pond to the Dartmoor Zoo in the United Kingdom. The Dartmoor is the English zoo off which the Matt Damon film "We Bought A Zoo" was based. Here, for around $20 you can have what some have called an "Absolutely amazing experience."

What is that "experience" you ask?

Well, believe it or not, this zoo which claims conservation as one of its goals, allows zoo-goers, 8 and up, the opportunity to play "tug-of-war" with one of their big cats.

Visitors, pay to play, suit up with gloves and tug on a rope that passes below the cat enclosure where one of the park's great felines has a slab of meat — tied to the rope — squarely in its jaws. The zoo says the attraction is fun for both man and beast and is a great way to keep them fit and stimulated. But animal rights activists don't see it that way.

Zoos often have to come up with clever ways to make money and usually that means exploiting the animals they contend to care so much about. Whether it's elephant rides, dolphin performances, "premium" up-close experiences or animal selfies these activities rarely have the animals best interest in mind.

This ridiculous game of tug-of-war with a great cat is no different. It has nothing to do with conservation or educating the public but it's all about making money.

Even though thousands of people online have complained and the RSPCA has denounced the practice the owner, Benjamin Mee, has refused to stop the practice. That's where you come in. We must let Mr. Mee know that he cannot use his animals as props to make money, especially not in this cruel way.

Help stand up for his big cats Amur tiger, Dragan, and African lion, Jasiri and tell the Dartmoor Zoo to cut the rope on this misguided attraction.

Photo credit: Twitter
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