A Chinese zoo was criticised after allegedly making a baby monkey smoke a cigarette.
Hengshui Wildlife Park uploaded the video of the little monkey named Banjin holding the lighted cigarette in its mouth in Hengshui, Hebei province on November 4.
A woman off-screen removed the cigarette and scolded the simian, saying smoking is harmful to one’s health.
After sparking outrage, the zoo keepers said they shot the video to raise public awareness against the vice. They added that the captive monkeys usually do not smoke.
Bosses at the zoo did not comment on the incident. However, residents in China said it was cruel.
One user wrote online that the monkey looked like it was hurt. They wrote: ‘He fell over on his back like he was dizzy and sick.’
Another added: ‘A zoo should no better than doing this. They are supposed to care about animals.’
The US Food and Drug Administration said animals exposed to cigarette smoke have been found to be at higher risk of illnesses such as pneumonia, eye problems, heart disease, and cancer.
The smoking monkey video is the latest in a list of controversies surrounding animal welfare in China.
Just last May, the ‘blind box’ craze – in which pets were sealed and sold in ‘mystery boxes’ for about $1.5 each – swept through online shoppers in the country. Animal activists rescued around 160 cats and dogs, some of which had died during transit due to suffocation.
Meanwhile, the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in southwestern China has also garnered widespread criticism from both international and local animal rights groups. Over 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and eaten during the yearly 10-day event, with residents believing the meat will bring good health and luck to those who consume it.