Animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is expecting at least a “sorry” from singer Justin Bieber after he was snapped posing with a leashed tiger said to be from the Bowmanville Zoo over the weekend.
Bieber was in Toronto for his father’s engagement party, and for whatever reason the extravagant bash featured live animals. According to PETA, the tiger was on loan from Bowmanville Zoo, northeast of Toronto, for the festivities. In the photo Bieber posted to his Instagram, the huge tiger is seen attached to a chain and rope leash.
In the last several months, Bowmanville Zoo has been under fire for allegedly mistreating its animals. In December, PETA released footage that appeared to show zoo director Michael Hackenberger repeatedly whipping one of his tigers and boasting about it. Hackenberger now faces five animal cruelty charges, and he still denies the allegations.
“Justin Bieber is lucky not to have had his throat torn out by this stressed captive tiger,” said PETA Senior Vice-President Lisa Lange in a statement.
“Tigers used for photo-ops are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, and the Bowmanville Zoo in particular was caught whipping one tiger more than 17 times, even after the cat was lying on his back in a position of submission and fear. This is why PETA urges everyone to stay far away from cruel and dangerous big-cat photo ops and also why we’re asking Justin to vow that this will be his last time promoting these types of abusive outfits.”
WATCH: A video released by PETA shows questionable training practices at Bowmanville Zoo. Other animal handlers are now challenging the training methods seen in the video. Christina Stevens reports.
PETA also sent a letter to Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, explaining why getting the tiger for the party was a bad call.
Bieber has not responded to PETA.
Many of the Bowmanville Zoo animals can be rented out for events or private encounters, according to the zoo’s website.