HEALTH CAMPAIGN: Baby monkey is forced to smoke a cigarette at Chinese zoo ‘to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking
A zoo has sparked outrage after forcing a baby monkey to smoke a cigarette on camera as part of a supposed public health campaign.
Hengshui Wildlife Park uploaded a video of the monkey named Banjin smoking in Hengshui, Hebei province, yesterday.
In the video a woman off-screen removes the cigarette and tells off the animal, saying smoking is harmful.
The monkey rubs his eyes and falls on his back after the cigarette is taken from him.
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 but Chinese social media users hit out at the wildlife park, saying the video 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 know 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.
Last May, the ‘blind box’ craze — in which pets were sealed and sold in ‘mystery boxes’ for about £1.11 ($1.50) 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.