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Wildlife park visitors play tug-of-war with lions at UK’s Dartmoor Zoo

Animal rights groups have hit back at the zoo and have said the experience has no respect for the animals, while others branded the organisers as morons.

TERRI-ANN WILLIAMS: ‘A ‘moronic’ zoo has been blasted for letting children as young as eight play a tug-of-war with lions and tigers in a £15-a-ticket ‘human v beast challenge’. Dartmoor Zoo launched its ‘human v beast’ challenge earlier this month, which sees four people being pitted against one of its big cats in an activity that zoo keepers have said the animals find ‘enriching’… It adds that it makes the cats ‘work their food and build muscle mass’. However, animal rights groups have hit back at the zoo and have said the experience has ‘no respect for the animals’, while others branded the organisers as ‘morons’… zoo’s CEO Benjamin Mee said the activity is common across other zoos and wildlife parks. ‘The lions like it’, he said. ‘The public like it and it’s working well. It is regarded as really good enrichment for the animals, whether the public are involved or not’.

During the experience competitors take on either the zoo’s male tiger Dragan or its male lion Jasirir. Meat is attached to a rope to bait the animals and when it picks it up the participants, which are on the other side of the fence, take up the other end of rope for a tug-of-war… Social media users also aired their frustration at the activity with one user saying that the zoo was ‘shameful’. ‘Shameful. How about baiting some of your bears whilst you’re at it? You are supposed to be conserving the future of these animals – a position of responsibility – not exploiting and abusing them for profit! Disgraceful.’ One Twitter user @paulwrites said: ‘Are they living in medieval times? Whoever thought of this and backed it should think very carefully about demonising animals as commodities for profit’.’ SOURCE…

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