Popular tourism spots like Mexico and other tropical destinations often offer a tourist activity called “cub petting.” Tourists can pay to pet and take a picture with a lion cub or other baby big cat. People often think the organizations that offer these activities have rescued the animals and that the animals have a good and healthy life, but the reality is that these animals are often drugged to remain calm, are often abused, and then abandoned, sold to the exotic animal trade for body parts or even killed when they become too big, so that they can purchase another cub and start the profit-making all over again.
Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of Lions Tigers and Bears, states, “Please don’t support these tourist opportunities. Even though it may look fun, paying money to these organizations provides more money to breed these animals that are not being properly taken care of and then killed or sold for nothing but profit.
Here’s what you need to know about cub petting:
* These exhibitors are NOT sanctuaries. A true sanctuary does not offer cubs for petting or photo opportunities. True sanctuaries do not buy, breed, sell or kill any animals, no matter what the circumstances.
* The cubs at these places have been taken away from their mothers at an early age. Often, they are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, which is an imperative stage in a cub’s life.
* USDA regulations now state that there should be no public contact with cubs until they are at least 8 weeks old, when they receive their first round of shots. Additionally, cubs should not be around humans after they are 12 weeks old, because then they are considered dangerous. Often times, cubs are younger or older than required, which can spread disease or cause harm to humans.
* The exhibitors at these places will tell people they have no choice, that the only way they can make money is to offer the cubs for tourists. The reality is that no true animal lover would abuse animals for financial support.