METRO UK – TANVEER MANN
A row has erupted in Russia over ‘fat cat’ performing circus lions fed on ‘junk food’ in their captivity.
Pictures show the overweight animals as they stand on their hind legs in a stunt for paying audiences. The images of the ‘fat felines’ at Vladivostok Circus led to complaints that one of Russia’s top animal trainer’s has abused the beasts. Vitaly Smolyanets, 44, seen as a skilled lion whisperer, has angrily denied the changes, denying his animals are obese and insisting they ‘feel excellent’.
One person wrote online: ‘They are making clowns out of wild animals.’ Others called for them to stop torturing animals, writing: ‘They don’t like jumping through fire and sitting on their hind feet’.
One comment on the lions and tigers kept in the touring big cat troupe stated: ‘When will these concentration camps for animals be banned?’ There were demands for Russia’s prosecutor-general to check the condition of the cats, currently the star attraction at the reopening of the circus in the Pacific port city after more than a year of closure, according to the Siberian Times. Another said: ‘The lionesses are clearly suffering from obesity. It might be better to show them to a vet, not circus visitors.’