Animal Rights Activists Called out Justin Bieber Over This Instagram Post

May 2nd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Justin Bieber is in hot water with animal rights advocates for posing for a photo with a chained tiger.


A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

On Saturday, Bieber shared a photo of himself beside a tiger that was apparently rented from the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, Canada, for a party he hosted.

The Zoo's Owner, Michael Hakenberger, has a troubling history with animals.

In response, the animal rights group PETA issued a letter condemning the use of tigers for entertainment, disclosing that the owner of the zoo in question was recently charged on five counts of animal cruelty.

PETA released undercover video showing the zoo owner, Michael Hackenberger, whipping a tiger during "training."

In 2015, the zoo owner was caught whipping a Siberian tiger that was being trained. In a separate video released by PETA, Hackenberger, who has provided tigers for films like Life of Pi and The Interview, boasts about his stern training methods.

PETA had some harsh words for Bieber.

"Exotic animals used for entertainment are usually torn away from their mothers at a young age, beaten into submission by trainers, and forced to live in cramped enclosures," PETA wrote in a letter responding to Bieber's Instagram post. "They may even be fed sedatives so that they’re docile during events and parties like the one Justin attended."

"Tigers used in this way are denied everything that they need to be happy, and we can only imagine that the tiger Justin posed with has experienced a life of misery. Justin and other guests are lucky that they weren’t attacked by the wild animals. In similar situations, animals have been known to lash out because of the stress of their miserable lives."

Based on a scan of Twitter and Instagram comments regarding the Bieber-tiger situation, fans have generally defended the singer's role in the controversy, arguing that he shouldn't be held accountable because the inclusion of the tiger at the party was beyond his control.



The way animal rights advocates see it, however, the Instagram post promotes a normalized image of tigers who are held in captivity.


"To people with huge influence like Justin Bieber, our message is simple: tigers are wild animals, not entertainers," the animal rights organization World Animal Protection said in a statement. "People posing with wildlife don't realize that a 'once in a lifetime' photo for them means a lifetime of misery for the animal."

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