Azalea, a 19-year-old female chimp became famous after The Associated Press published photos of her smoking in a Central Zoo exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The chimp is able to light the cigarettes herself either with a lighter of another lit cigarette and puffs on it like a human would. Her trainers throw cigarettes into the exhibit to encourage her to continue smoking. This is a disgusting display of animal cruelty and must be stopped immediately!
While it’s possible for humans to train primates how to smoke tobacco, primatologist Frans B.M. de Waal says it’s a form of animal cruelty.
“Of course, it is as addictive and unhealthy [for primates] as it is for humans,” he told The Huffington Post.
Officials working at the Central Zoo claim that Azalea it's not actually inhaling the smoke into her lungs, but de Waal doesn't buy it.
“I doubt it, in the same way that I would doubt a human who smokes a lot but says he never inhales,” he said.
Central Zoo has been accused of animal cruelty on several occasions. Some reports allege that the zoo has staged deadly fights between different endangered animals.
“How cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement,” Newkirk said in an emailed to HuffPost. “Gradually, zoos are learning that spectacles such as chimpanzee tea parties, elephant rides and photo ops with tiger cubs are inappropriate and exploitative. The big question now is why are we keeping wild animals behind bars at all.”
Included in the zoos attractions are, lion elephant and giraffe exhibits. There are also more unusual ones such as Azalea's exhibit as well as a dog pavilion featuring displays of German shepherds, poodles and a chihuahua.
This cruelty must be put to an end immediately, sign the petition to demand they help Azalea quit smoking.
Read more here.
We, the undersigned, are concerned with the treatment of Azalea, a chimpanzee at the Pyongyang Central Zoo in Norht Korea. We understand that she smokes cigarettes for tourists and is encouraged by zoo offials.
Chimps face the same health hazards of smoking that humans do, but they lack the intellectual capacity to consent. Azalea's chainsmoking is not only putting her own health at risk, but it is exposing tourists and thier children to harmful secondhand smoke and polluting the zoo environment.
We respecturlly urge you to offer a healthy, stimulating environment for Azalea, and to ban tourists and zoo offiials from giving her cigarettes.