Animal Activists Roar At Florida High School After Caged Tiger Was Used to Entertain At Prom

A Florida high school is under fire for using a live tiger as a prom side show. The Miami school is red-faced after video of the incident was leaked and got backlash. They've apologized for the poor judgement.

Christopher Columbus High School students were treated to a close encounter of the furry kind at prom. The Miami school brought in a caged tiger, and a handler brought a lemur, macaws and African Fennec Fox for the kids to hold and pose with for photos.

The event, held at the Double Tree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center on 11 May, had a jungle theme, and someone at the school thought the wild animals would be an entertaining addition for the students.

Not everyone was impressed, though, and the school has been accused of cruelty to animals.

Mari-Cris Castellanos shared footage of the event, which she got from her brother who attended the prom. "How shameful for Christopher Columbus High school... showing its students on prom night who is the ‘King of the Jungle’," Castellanos wrote on Facebook in a rant. "This poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement …Why does CCHS allow such animal cruelty?”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) got wind of the display and put out a statement complaining that the stunt 'sends the harmful message that living beings are props to be used for human amusement'.

“Wild animals aren’t prom decorations, and TeachKind (Peta’s humane education division) is calling on CCHS to avoid further embarrassment by implementing an immediate ban on live animals at school events,” said Marta Holmber, PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns.

Principal David Pugh has apologized for the incident, claiming that the isolated case does not reflect the school's values, or their 'sensitivity to animal rights'.

"We will immediately evaluate our current policies and procedures regarding all school activities and events,” said Pugh. “We can assure the Columbus community and all who have expressed concern, that we are sorry. We have learned a great deal from this experience.”

As for the tiger, the school says he was 'never harmed or in any danger'. He spent most of the evening 'lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience'.

Not everyone was upset about the wild animal display, however. Some came forward to complain that the entire evening was blown out of proportion. Parent Johanna Garcia Hernandez said of the event, "In no way shape or form was (my son) offended... this a wonderful school that only wants the best for their students... shame on the negativity.”

Manny Alvarez, a student, said, "Safety precautions were taken prior to when the tiger was taken out.”

PETA is calling the outcome a victory, however.

“Christopher Columbus High School took to heart the public’s outrage over its decision to hold a tiger inside a tiny cage at its prom,” the activist website reports. “The school now joins more than 620 venues and dozens of communities across the country that have prohibited wild-animal exhibits, and TeachKind looks forward to an animal-free future at all its future events.”

“[W]e will educate our students to respect wildlife and to protect all animals. Moving forward, we will not include live animals in any event or planned activity,” PETA said the school told them in a statement.

Source: Telegraph
Photos: Value Walk, NBC 6

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