Actress Halle Bailey faces backlash for posing with animals at controversial Bangkok zoo

Pictures from Instagram/Coconuts.

Animal rights activists have criticized US actress Halle Bailey, known for her upcoming role in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, after she posed with wildlife at a controversial Bangkok zoo.

Bailey and Disney were accused of promoting animal exploitation and cruelty at Safari World in Bangkok, which has been under international scrutiny for years for their treatment of animals, particularly orangutans and elephants, and keeping lion and tiger cubs in cramped cages. Furthermore, about two decades ago, the zoo was implicated in trafficking more than 100 great apes, according to Coconuts.

Photos from Bailey’s recent trip to Thailand showed her snuggling an orangutan and bottle-feeding a tiger cub, while footage from Safari World was broadcast on an American television network owned by Disney showing a trained orangutan hugging a woman before kissing her and cupping her breasts.

Actress Halle Bailey faces backlash for posing with animals at controversial Bangkok zoo | News by Thaiger

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Animal advocacy group Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand said they feared Bailey’s post and the zoo’s appearance on Disney-owned talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! “could influence tourists into supporting controversial wildlife attractions that campaigners say cause immense suffering to animals.”

World Animal Protection Thailand described Bailey’s post as “a real bummer.”

A statement from World Animal Protection Thailand said…

“Many wild animals in Thailand are bred into captivity and subjected to harsh training methods that cause them physical and mental harm from a very young age. They are then forced to ‘work’ in poor living conditions for most of their lives. By participating in or promoting these activities, tourists inadvertently contribute to this vicious cycle of animal cruelty.”

However, some of Bailey’s fans defended her, saying she was likely unaware of what she was doing. J Silva Grant said…

“I didn’t know about the treatment of these animals either so I probably would have done the same. Give people a chance to learn from innocent mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.”

Safari World is a 480-acre animal tourism attraction in northeastern Bangkok that opened in 1988. Trained animals perform stunts to entertain tourists and visitors, who can pose for photos with them. In 2006, dozens of trafficked orangutans were rescued and returned to their home in Indonesia. Dozens of others vanished or died during the long legal battle over their fate.

The Little Mermaid is slated for release in cinemas throughout the world next month.

Actress Halle Bailey faces backlash for posing with animals at controversial Bangkok zoo | News by Thaiger

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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