Should Beyoncé and Jay Z Have Taken Selfies With a Tiger Cub?

Beyoncé may be known as the queen of the selfie, but one of her latest photos has landed the singer and husband Jay Z in hot water. The image, posted to Beyoncé's Instagram account, shows the famous duo and their daughter, Blue Ivy, posing with a tiger cub at Phuket FantaSea in Thailand. The tiger is being bottle-fed by an off-camera handler. Animal rights groups say the photo promotes the cruel practice of animal "prop photos" and that tigers in these cases live in terrible conditions.

"Celebrities should set a humane example, not an exploitative one, as their potential for influence is massive," said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. "Tigers can kill, whether wild or captive, and every unwitting child who chooses to pose with a tiger as a result of seeing celebrities do so is at risk. Imagine if Beyoncé and Jay Z decided to expose tigers to the world by supporting their conservation in the wild instead."

Beyoncé's public relations agency did not respond to requests for comment.

Born Free has conducted numerous investigations into the prop photo industry and found that the animals are often drugged, restrained, or mutilated to make them safer for tourists to handle. Phuket FantaSea is one of the parks cited in the organization's investigations. Online reviews of the park frequently mention animal cruelty and harmful conditions for the creatures kept there.

In 2013, Rihanna took a selfie with an endangered slow loris in Thailand, which led to the arrest of wildlife smugglers.

It’s not just a celebrity thing.

Conservationists have blamed a growing illegal trade in cheetahs on the practice of men in the Middle East taking selfies with the big cats to impress women. Park rangers in the United States have warned people to stop shooting selfies with bears and other wildlife as it poses a threat to the animals and to themselves.

Jan Schmidt-Burbach of the organization World Animal Protection also criticized the Beyoncé photo.

"A tiger is not a plaything," she said in a statement. "Many tourists unwittingly contribute to the suffering of wild animals like these. They're simply not aware that their 'once in a lifetime' photo means a lifetime of misery for that animal." A video posted by the organization documents how tigers are beaten as cubs to keep them compliant and, as adults, stored in tiny cages under the hot sun for 20 hours a day to make them more lethargic.

The tiger photo comes just days after Beyoncé was photographed riding an elephant calf elsewhere in Thailand. World Animal Protection also criticized that event, saying elephants are cruelly "broken" with beatings and other psychological tactics to make them more compliant.

This is  the second time Beyoncé has posed with a tiger cub in the past year. Last January she and Jay Z rented out Florida's Jungle Island wildlife habitat for Blue Ivy's second birthday and released several photos of her posing with a tiger cub, a baby chimpanzee, an albino python, and a juvenile white tiger. 

Related stories on TakePart:

Rihanna’s Selfie Accidentally Alerts Authorities to Wildlife Smugglers

Rihanna’s Selfie Accidentally Alerts Authorities to Wildlife Smugglers

The World’s Remaining 3,200 Tigers Face a New Foe

Park Rangers Are Having to Tell People to Stop Taking Selfies With Bears

Original article from TakePart