Mont-Mosan in Huy (Liège) is the "ideal place to relax with the family", reads the website . "A great opportunity to approach the animal world with the shows of sea lions, seals, and parrots."
Unfortunately, things are often not as they seem.
Sea lions are wild animals, sensitive, and extremely well adapted to their natural environment. Sea lions can sometimes dive up to 180 meters into the ocean where they lead complex social and cultural lives.
Animal rights activists, C'est assez , posted footage on August 7, 2020, that shows a seal being forced to tow children around in a boat with a rope tied around its neck. The activists claim that the seals only perform this stunt for rewards, such as fish.
Some people who viewed the video do not understand the concerns of the activists. "I find it hard to understand the outrage," writes one viewer. "How is it worse than horseback riding?"
Most, however, are outraged by the video. Gisèle, in particular, who even spoke directly to the leaders of Mount Mosan. “Know that you just lost a potential customer of your park, not to mention my family and friends with whom I just shared this video. Where is animal welfare in your park? Do you really think it is essential to attract the public? ”, She asks.
Director of the animal park, Jean-Marc Vanberg, is at the end of his rope. "I think people should pay more attention to the slaughter of poor whales that still take place in some parts of the world instead of looking after a small park where animals are not mistreated," he told Belgian site 7 out of 7 . He has been receiving countless emails and phone calls, mainly from people in France.
This service has been offered at the park for years, but no one has complained until now. “The sea lions are not tied up. They pull the boat with a ring that they take in their mouths. That's how they were taught to do. Now maybe they find it less tiring to put their head in the ring, ” he supposes.
This is not the first time that Mont-Mosan has been the target of activists. In 2018, Jean-Michel Stasse, president of the ASBL Wolf Eyes, lodged a complaint against Mont Mosan for sea lions and seals who would have become blind because of the chlorine in the water in the basin. The director of the parc refuted those claims.
Wolf Eyes teamed up C'est assez and launched a petition to do with the aim of ending sea lion attractions at Mount Mosan and eventually stopping the exploitation of these animals. You can sign it here .