Caged tiger at Miami school prom causes uproar among students and parents
A school in Miami has enraged parents and students after bringing in a caged tiger as entertainment at the school prom.
Christopher Columbus High School held their annual event at the DoubleTree Hotel at Miami International Airport on Friday night, with organisers bringing in a special 'treat' to embrace the "Welcome to the Jungle" theme.
But the party took a bizarre turn when the entertainment of choice was revealed to be a caged tiger, which was put on display in the middle of the party. Reports have also claimed that several other animals were present, including a lemur, two macaws and an African fennec fox.
Soon after, Marie-Christine Castellanos - whose brother was at the prom - took to social media to post a video of the wild animal, as well as to express her outrage at the staff who arranged the party, dubbing them "shameful".
In a Facebook post, she questioned why the tiger had to be there, asking "did this tiger ask to attend prom?" and "Why didn’t anyone open the cage?"
In addition, Castellanos, a 19-year-old college student whose family are reportedly long-time animal rights activists, spoke to CBS4, telling them: "My mom doesn’t appreciate that she spent $200 for prom and got this type of attraction. Who got down on one knee and proposed to the tiger to go to the prom? He’s nothing more than an object that people used to amuse themselves in exchange for money."
She added: "The body language of the tiger showed he is not happy with the situation. He is stressed. The tiger is pacing up and down. They're teaching these kids there's some satisfaction through the suffering of others. The saddest part of it all is teaching the children that there is no merit to the life of that animal -- that that animal doesn't deserve any better."
Following the controversy, Christopher Columbus High School released a statement on social media, defending their choice of entertainment. They insist that the animals were displayed in a "controlled" environment, with two police officers present the entire time.
It read: "Some individuals have expressed their sentiments about the use of animals as part of a performance at prom. We recognize this decision has offended some and for that we apologize. Although it was in a controlled environment and handled by professionals approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, we understand how some individuals may be concerned. Moving forward, we will evaluate our current policies and procedures in the planning and management of school events, including the impact these events have on others. We all have learned a great deal from this experience."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is now investigating whether laws were broken at the prom.