Café Draws Fire For Putting Lion In A Glass Case To Attract Customers

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“I am Lion Khalessi and I was born in a zoo in Antalya. My biological parents left me for dead and my real father is a human, who is the owner of this rehabilitation center.”

A cafe in Istanbul, Turkey, sparked social media outrage for keeping exotic animals in narrow glass cases as an attraction for visitors after the video of a lion pacing in its tiny cage went viral.

Other than lions, the café, named Mevzoo, reportedly has several animals on display, such as flamingos, 35 rabbits, four snakes, four horses, two parrots, two crocodiles and an iguana.

Video footage showed the young lion, who appeared rather thin and weak, on display for customers in a bare, narrow area behind a glass wall. Customers could also be seen eating their food as the big cat moved around in frustration.

The lion was confined to a space less than a meter wide while children played around the case.

“I am Lion Khalessi and I was born in a zoo in Antalya. My biological parents left me for dead and my real father is a human, who is the owner of this rehabilitation center. I have a huge cage below but I sometimes come up here to see you,” read a placard on the wall.

The café has reportedly obtained a license as a “tourism related zoo and animal rehabilitation center.”

The Turkish Ministry of Forest and Water Management reportedly began investigating Mevzoo after images of the animals being confined began circulating on social media.

The agency then notified authorities and animal rights activists, who launched an online campaign to shut down the cafe that used animal as a mere object of display to draw customers' attention.

As of now, more than 2,700 people have signed the petition.

After mounting pressure, officials visited the café and said the owner had all the required permits to keep the animals. However, the glass corridor was ordered to be removed within three months.

The photos and videos from café have garnered widespread criticism on social media.

“In the middle of Istanbul, the humiliation! Animal abuse in the 'rehabilitation center' decorated hookah café,” said Oytun Okan Senel, president of the Turkish Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons.

Another user wrote on Facebook, “Is this a joke? What is called humanity is maybe not a good word as we think.”

Sadly, tourism is a huge contributor to animal cruelty around the world.

Thousands of wild animals, including lions, are being beaten, chained and abused. They are kept in terrible conditions all for the sake of entertaining tourists. 

Unfortunately, this not the first time an incident of animals abuse has come to light. Several zoos around the world reportedly treat animals heartlessly, some even lose their lives entertaining humans just for the sake of a picture or selfie.

Animal rights groups have been criticizing the wildlife tourism industry as inhumane. Confining animals in small quarters with inadequate diets or veterinary care for commercial purposes is inhumane, to say the least.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Yves Herman

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