Bluewater slammed for "circus-style" racoon "stunt"
PUBLISHED: 15:44 29 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:44 29 October 2013
Bluewater shopping centre has faced a backlash from social media and the RSPCA after a racoon performed on a mini bicycle during a pet exhibition at the weekend.
The Pet Expo at the Greenhithe shopping centre saw Melanie the racoon, who auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent this year, cycling in the Pet Expo from Friday to Sunday, an event which was aimed at promoting responsible animal and pet ownership.
David Cowdrey, RSPCA’s head of communications, was less than impressed in the stunt which saw the racoon forced to wear a red polka dot bow tie.
He said: “The RSPCA is shocked to learn that a raccoon was made to wear a bow tie and ride a bicycle at Bluewater Shopping Centre this weekend, and fears it could encourage others to host a similarly irresponsible show in the lead up to Christmas.
“Using wild animals in crude circus-style acts under the guise of ‘responsible ownership’ is entirely misjudged.”
A Bluewater spokesman said: “Bluewater is aware that some of the content with the Pet Expo caused concern and we take this very seriously.”
“A number of leading animal welfare charities were represented at the event including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust and Cats Protection.
“In addition a vet was on hand throughout the show to ensure the welfare of all the animals.
“In the meantime, we would like to to apologise for any concerns the show has raised, and confirm that there are no plan to run Pet Expo again.”