The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
16°C | 9°C
16°C | 11°C
18°C | 11°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Ashford News Article
A big cat sanctuary has today been criticised for allowing a model into one of its enclosures - for a photoshoot with cheetahs.
Heavily-tattooed Lusy Logan posed for a series of seductive shots with animals at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden.
The Captive Animals' Protection Society today branded the shoot "dangerous and irresponsible", but the sanctuary said neither the safety of the animals or model was at risk.
In a video set to a thumping beat posted on Lusy's YouTube page, she is seen posing seductively in front of a cheetah.
Wearing a leopard-print halterneck dress - slashed to the hip - and matching shoes, she is photographed in various poses - and at one point strokes one of the animals.
The 24-year-old, who is covered in dozens of tattoos from head to toe, describes herself as an "internationally published tattoo model and animal lover".
She said on YouTube: "This photoshoot was in aid of the decreasing number of big cats, the people trying to save them and my passion for these beautiful creatures.
"Please donate, follow and support this sanctuary they do an amazing job!"
"Allowing close interactions between members of the public and dangerous wild animals is unethical, irresponsible and extremely dangerous..." - Liz Tyson, Captive Animals' Protection Society
The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) does not open to the public, but offers paid-for "experiences" with animals.
CAPS director Liz Tyson said: "To find that the animals are now being rented out for photoshoots is shocking.
"Allowing close interactions between members of the public and dangerous wild animals is unethical, irresponsible and extremely dangerous."
She added: "To call the continued use of animals in this way an accident waiting to happen is perhaps an understatement.
"We have numerous examples of people either deliberately or innocently coming into contact with wild animals with tragic results.
"It is time we all seriously question the keeping of these animals in captivity; not just for their sake, but for ours too."
WHF spokesman Tanith Brown said: "We do up-close experiences with our smaller cats so they are used to having close contact with people.
"The animals aren't being rented out and we certainly wouldn't do anything to put them or the animals at risk."
She added: "Lusy does a lot of good publicity to raise awareness and good conservation work.
"All she did was stand and pose for photographs. I can't see anything negative about what she’s done. Our cats come first every time and we would never jeopardise their welfare."
The WHF posted on its Facebook page: "Lusy Logan is a great model who spent a few hours at WHF to help promote the work we are doing and have a photoshoot in with some of the cats.
"Lusy has a real passion in helping wildlife as you can see she is not worried about how close the cats get."
What do you think? Join the debate below.
Click here for more news from Ashford.
Click here for more news from around the county.