Students from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida, expected a wild night when attending their jungle-themed prom on Friday night.
Nothing prepared them for the moment a live tiger would be carted onto the dance floor in a cage amidst the flashing lights and booming music.
In front of the cage, dancers entered and spun flaming torches around while wowing the crowd with their tricks as the caged tiger circled around anxiously in a repetitive circle.
Eventually, he slumps down against the metal bars with his back to the audience.
Students posted video footage of the distressed tiger on Facebook the next day, as the event went viral, people around the world are calling out the school for promoting animal cruelty.
According to Susan Bass, Big Cat Rescue PR director, the tiger in the video belongs to a private company called Predators Limited which often rents out a variety of big cats, bears, wolves and other wild animals for parties.
Although it is licensed by the USDA, they are not an accredited wildlife sanctuary or refuge.
Bass said judging from the tiger’s body language it’s clear he was frightened at the prom. “It was very apparent the tiger was stressed, just like house cats, big cats have an instinct to run when they’re in a stressful situation. But that poor cat had nowhere to go,” she explains.
There were also two macaws, a lemur and an African fennec fox (it’s unclear whether the animals also came from Predators Unlimited) at the prom.
Now-deleted photos posted Instagram account show teens passing a fox around as well as what appears to be small, live birds in cages as table centrepieces were all part of the school’s committee of student activities.
The school issued a statement about the spectacle, following the backlash on social media, claiming the tiger was only “displayed for a few minutes in a cage, [and] was never harmed or in danger.”
“Upon reflection, we regret the decision to have live animals at our prom,” Principal David Pugh said in a statement Monday morning.
“This decision in no way reflects the Marist values, teachings of the Catholic Church and/or the accomplishments of our young [students] and that of our distinguished alumni.” he aded.
Bass claims the quick public backlash to the prom was a welcome sight, she’s hoping it will educate people about the thousands of animals who live in similar conditions across the country.
“Some may think, that after being at the prom a few hours, that the animal will go back to his sanctuary to be calm and happy,” Bass says.
Adding “The reality is, when they aren’t being rented out, they probably still live in a tiny cage or enclosure until being carted off to venue after venue. The stress never ends for them.”
Finally, she added, “I’m so pleased to see this went viral and people realized instantly that it shouldn’t have happened.”
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Published By Trending Stylist.