In the past weekend, Miami, FL prom at Christopher Columbus High School, they hauled in a captive tiger, lemur and birds for their jungle themed prom. The tiger paced its cage, surrounded by blaring music and rowdy teenagers. To ease the fear of students, two Miami-Dade police officers were stationed outside the tiger’s cage in case an escape was made. The internet exploded with anger, as they should. Another ethical dilemma was present, however, which is the prospect of the tiger actually escaping.
The school board in charge of organizing prom did not take into consideration the implications of the tiger potentially escaping. If the tiger escaped, police would be forced to slay it on the spot–a tiger that did not choose to be in a cage and in distress. Police would be doing their job, but even putting the students and tiger in that position poses so many questions: is a tiger’s life less important than human entertainment? Are humans unaware of how cruel captivity is in the first place (not to mention bringing a tiger into a totally new and scary environment)?
While wildlife exhibits aren’t prohibited at public events, such as prom, the mistreatment and frightening of animals is illegal. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating if any laws were broken and if the tiger was hurt in any way, as well as the other animals rented from Predators Unlimited.
The all-boys Catholic school clearly believed that putting forth tuition money toward renting a giant live tiger would be cool with all who attended. And if they didn’t, they certainly didn’t expect to be caught.