Supermodel Cara Delevingne is facing intense criticism from animal rights activists after photos of her holding a lion cub for her new TAG Heuer campaign emerged.
The new campaign for the luxury watch brand employs both Delevingne and an adorable lion cub to help promote the brand of watches. The supermodel is the new female ambassador for the brand, and while many think the campaign is harmless, animal rights activists say that posing with a lion cub is just plain wrong.
“Lion cubs are not photo props. Their health and well-being should not be compromised,” Dr. Neil D’Cruze, wildlife expert with World Animal Protection International, told the Daily Mail. “They belong in the wild, not draped over a celebrity just to sell a designer watch. When you look behind the scenes, advertisements like these support an industry that relies on animal cruelty. Our concern is that such high profile adverts will legitimise [sic] these cruel encounters with wild animals. I am sure that both advertisers and consumers alike would think twice about the commercial use of wild animals if they were aware of the suffering involved behind the scenes.”
Delevingne’s online followers also had a lot to say about the incident.
“Stupid stunt by Cara Delvingne [sic] and TAG Heuer, with a wild lion cub in her arms,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Yall realise this is animal abuse, right?” another Twitter user said.
Still, despite criticism, Delevingne has continued to post pictures with the lion cub on social media.
TAG Heuer says they chose Delevingne as their female ambassador because they believe she is the “it girl” of the moment.
“We needed someone disruptive yet elegant like Cara to open our minds to the brashness and boldness of today’s youth,” TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said. “TAG Heuer has set its sights on ‘it-ness’, and Cara is just the person to help us get there."