“The Toronto Blue Jays are heroes to countless kids (and quite a few adults) across Canada. But there is nothing heroic about players posting photos to social media showing them posing with lion and tiger cubs in their dressing room,” wrote Sheryl Fink, who is the IFAW’s Director of Wildlife Campaigns in Canada.
Her article, posted today, points out that cuts grow too big and dangerous for handling, “they can end up chained in someone’s backyard as a ‘status pet,’ bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, traded off to another zoo, or killed.”
Major League Baseball players Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes posted photos of the encounter on their Instagram accounts last week. Drew Hutchison posted his photo to Twitter.
“Their visit was arranged by pitcher Mark Buehrle, who recently met the owner of a small zoo and came up with the idea,” according to the National Post.
Need to hang out with this little guy from now on whenever I pitch pic.twitter.com/eAthTXKMVy
— Drew Hutchison (@1DrewHutch) September 11, 2014
“We urge the Toronto Blue Jays to cease the practice of posing with wild animals for the safety of the animals involved and to set a good example for the kids who look up to the Blue Jays,” Fink writes.
“Wild animals belong in the wild—not kept as exotic pets, and surely not used as locker-room props for Instagram.”