Chantelle Houghton opens up on ‘surreal’ Tiger King appearance and how she’s still campaigning for animal rights
Big Brother star Chantelle Houghton has opened up about her cameo appearance Netflix’s hit documentary Tiger King.
The 36 year old blonde made an appearance on the show dressed as a tiger to protest against the abuse of animals in circuses for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
And, in an exclusive column with OK! online, she has opened up about that experience and how she is still campaigning for animal rights today.
She writes: “Back in 2011, I posed outside Parliament body-painted as a tiger to support a PETA campaign against the abuse of wild animals in circuses.
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“Fast-forward nine years, and seeing a photo of myself featured in Netflix's widely viewed documentary Tiger King is almost as surreal to me as the events exposed by the series.
“I hope it goes without saying, but let me make it perfectly clear: I don't support Joe Exotic or anyone else who exploits big cats.”
Joe was convicted in April 2019 on two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
Chantelle continued to reveal how she is still supporting PETA in their campaign against cub petting, nine years after her protest outside Parliament.
She adds: “The cruel cub-petting industry – for which baby cubs, some only hours old, are torn from their mothers so that they can be used as photo props or playthings by paying customers.
“As a mum, I'm heartbroken at the thought of this wrenching separation.
“Mother tigers are as fiercely protective of their babies as human mothers are – but there's little they can do to stop their little ones from being forcibly taken away from them.”
Chantelle, who recently admitted she will love her ex-husband Preston “forever”, continues: “By the time the cubs are a few months old, they're too dangerous for human interaction.
“Some are killed because they're no longer profitable for exhibitors, while others are sold to another shoddy outfit or confined to a cage for the rest of their lives – many of these animals are used for breeding to perpetuate this cycle of cruelty.”
She passionately adds: “Wild animals belong in nature, but for many of those bred by exhibitors, a barren cage is all they'll ever know.
“For animals who would naturally roam and explore large territories and raise their own families, life in a cage is no life at all.
“Many lose their minds in captivity and pace incessantly in an effort to cope with the frustration and mind-numbing lack of activity.”
Chantelle continues: “One thing that Tiger King got right was pointing out that there are more tigers in captivity than there are in their natural habitats.
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“Yet how can we expect the public to recognise the plight of these animals – who are on the brink of extinction – when they see them being passed from one paying customer to the next?
“These displays dupe people into thinking that the species is doing just fine, which is false.”
Chantelle ends with: “If you were gobsmacked by Tiger King, remember: you can make a difference. Never visit sleazy roadside zoos, go to wild-animal circuses, or participate in ‘encounters’ or photo ops with wild animals.
“Instead, visit sanctuaries accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, or watch wildlife documentaries to see tigers and other big cats in their natural homes. Don't contribute to the problem – be part of the solution.”
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