Christopher Columbus High School, a private Catholic school in Miami, held a jungle-themed prom at a local hotel recently, at which a caged tiger was wheeled out onto the dance floor, according to a WSVN-TV report. The big cat wasn’t the only attraction at the soirée. It was joined by a lemur, an African fennec fox, a brace of macaws, fire dancers and loud music.
Many students and parents were upset at the tiger’s appearance, and voiced concern about…the animal’s comfort and stress level. Marie-Christine Castellanos, whose brother attended the prom, was outraged when she learned the details of the gala: “This is an event to have fun and amusement, but is torturing an animal really considered amusement?” she remarked to the television station. She added: “You guys paid to see this happen to an innocent animal who had nowhere to run, who was completely afraid.”
The Castellanos' mother, Maria, was also alarmed by the event. “I was appalled. We are animal advocates in this house,” she said.
PETA, of course, roundly chastised the high school for the display, saying that animals “do not need to be in a party situation.” I beg to differ, People for the Exalting of all Things Asinine. Where do you think the expression “party animal” comes from? Duh!
In the face of these attacks, the school’s marketing director defended the decision to feature the animals, saying that they were brought in by professionals and were properly cared for. School officials released a statement to WSVN reading, in part, that the “animals were displayed in a very controlled situation,” and that all of them were "provided by facilities that are licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.”
CCHS officials also noted that the hotel approved of the animals’ presence, stating: “The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage, was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was laying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience.”
Unlike the rest of the prom attendees.
Those officials at Christopher Columbus High, so bent on “exploiting” animals, have discovered that they aren’t welcome in today’s America.
In Florida, as in other states, preventing kids from being slaughtered is not as important as assuring that animals aren’t inconvenienced.