By Cady Lang
May 14, 2018

A Miami high school featured a live caged tiger as part of their jungle-themed prom and as might be expected, the animal’s appearance was not well-received by everyone.

Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School hosted its annual prom last Friday at the Double Tree by Hilton Miami Airport and Convention Center, but received backlash from some who believed that having the animal there for entertainment purposes was equivalent to animal abuse.

One student’s sister, a Facebook user by the name of Mari-Cris Castellanos, took to Facebook to post a video of the event, asking why the school allowed it. Castellanos told CBS Miami that she and her family are longtime animal rights activists and that she thought the decision to have the tiger there was animal abuse.

“Tigers are wild animals,” she said. “They don’t need to be displayed as objects for our amusement. They don’t like the fire, the cages, the music, the teenagers with the cameras, they didn’t ask for that, they don’t have voices.”

Castellanos elaborated on these feelings in her social media post.

High school officials responded in a statement to CBS Miami saying that the animals present at the prom were in a “very controlled situation” and that there were two police officers present at the event.

“The animals were provided by facilities that are licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” the statement read. “The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience.”

 

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com.

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