"Celebrity Pets Exotic Animal At Lavish Party" could be a headline from any tabloid magazine from the past 50 years. But the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, is here to remind everyone that treating wild animals as entertainment is not cool. The latest culprit? Justin Bieber. Bieber shared a picture on Instagram over the weekend from his father's engagement party in Toronto. It looks innocent enough. But, according to PETA, there is a darker history that the public may not know.
"What Justin and other party guests probably don’t know is that Michael Hackenberger, the owner of that zoo, was recently charged with five counts of cruelty to animals because of PETA’s undercover footage, which shows him viciously whipping a young tiger during a 'training' session and then bragging about it," reads a May 1 article published on the organizations site. "Hackenberger has supplied tigers for films such as Life of Pi and The Interview." PETA's description of the conditions in which captive exotic animals are held is particularly disturbing. "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 writes. "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." Bieber has not responded to the organization, but commenters on the photo have been sharing their disgust and disappointement in the singer for tacitly supporting the captivity of wild animals.