This viral footage shows seals being made to tow children around in a boat at an animal park in Belgium, causing widespread outrage.
The footage was shot at the Mont Mosan animal park in the commune of Huy, in the Liege province in Belgium.
It was shared by Aaron Copette with animal rights organisation ‘C’est assez’ (‘That’s enough’) who posted it on Facebook, where it has notched up nearly half a million views, with outraged netizens posting thousands of comments.
The footage shows two seals swimming in front of three children in a boat. One of the seals has a rope around its neck which is attached to the boat as it pulls the children inside along.
Local newspaper Sudinfo said that the footage has been repeatedly shared on social media since Sunday 9th August.
They also said that ‘C’est assez’ is an animal rights organisation that fight against the practice of having marine wildlife kept in captivity.
Newsflash contacted Aaron Copette, who provided the animal rights organisation with the footage.
Speaking to Newsflash, Aaron said: “I find it horrible what we are still doing to animals in 2020. All to entertain people and for money!”
Asked if he agreed more with the animal rights organisation or with the park, he replied: “I agree with the animal rights organisation, of course, because they are doing everything they can to educate people who go to this kind of park and to make them understand that it is wrong.
“Even if the owner of the park says he does not abuse or lock up the animals, or force them to do shows, it is still a form of abuse.”
Asked what he thought should be done, Aaron said: “I think the park should rehabilitate the animals in their natural environment.
Asked if he had filed a complaint, he said: “No I did not lodge a complaint, my goal is to denounce them so that people become aware of the plight of animals.”
Newsflash contacted the animal rights organisation ‘C’est assez’ and spoke with its founder, Christine Grandjean, 68.
She said: “You can’t treat animals like that! We don’t want the man [park owner Jean-Marc Vanberg] to be threatened and have amended our Facebook post to ask people to be more moderate when contacting him.”
She added: “We don’t think he is intentionally harming the animals. Even though we have received reports that the park is insalubrious. We understand that the seals do it voluntarily, slipping into the rope lasso and pulling the boat around. But they wouldn’t do it if it weren’t for the fish they are given as a reward.
“These are animals that belong in the wild. They should not be used as entertainment by people.”
Newsflash contacted the animal park for comment and was given the number for the manager, Jean-Marc Vanberg. Despite repeated attempts to reach him, he was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
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