Smoking Chimp Rescued from Zoo

A chimpanzee trained to smoke cigarettes has been rescued from a zoo in Lebanon and is being sent to a sanctuary in Brazil.

The chimpanzee is named Omega, and originally learned to smoke as entertainment for customers at a restaurant, then after being moved to a zoo, he continued because visitors would throw cigarettes into his cage.

Animals Lebanon is the group responsible for rescuing Omega. They also helped to find all of the other animals alternate homes and worked with the owner to close the zoo.

Omega is 12 years old and has spent his whole life around humans. He has never climbed trees or spent time around other chimps. His life at the sanctuary will be his first experience living as a true chimpanzee.

Lebanon has almost no laws on the books to protect animals, and this situation illustrates the worst aspects of so-called animal “entertainment”. An animal removed from his natural environment, addicted to a man-made poisonous product, and trained to slowly kill himself for the amusement of onlookers.

We may think zoos in America or Europe are different, but the nature of the situation remains the same. When we stop thinking of animals as sentient living beings and start thinking of them as objects created for our amusement, it’s a slippery slope and before we know it, we’re addicting them to poisonous chemicals.

The solution to problems like this isn’t trying to increase the welfare of animals in zoos, or trying to tighten restrictions on animal treatment. The solution is to end all animal entertainment, zoos, circuses, rodeos, bullfights and every other industry that tortures, isolates and kills animals.

Animals do not exist for our entertainment any more than they exist for our consumption. As long as we continue to support the industries that exploit animals, they will continue to exploit animals.

The next time you consider visiting a zoo, think about Omega and wonder if the caretakers at the zoo, the visitors, and the owner of your zoo wouldn’t be doing the same thing to their animals if they could make a decent profit from it and get away with it. We’ve seen time and time again that people who operate zoos don’t care about the lives of their animals.

Go vegan, boycott zoos, circuses, and every other industry that exploits animals for profit. You can make a difference if you choose to.

Photo: lightmatter


Dagmar Bajinski
Past Member 7 years ago

I agree with the author about using animals for any thing of entertainment, circuses and any kind of industry that exploits animals. But with zoos I'm in a somewhat different position because not all zoos put animals in cages (this goes to Laura Mattei) and neglect them. Some zoos help to work against extinction of threatened animal races, they breed and raise animals for setting them free in their natural surroundings to avoid extinction. I think regulations for zoos, anyway for every institution that has something to do with animals like shelters for example should be absolutely strict and closely monitored. Most laws of animal right and welfare are insufficient. I think legally seen animals should be protected equal to humans. As long as this isn't going to happen I'm afraid there wont be much of a change.

TRISH GEIDEL7 years ago

Not all Zoos are bad !!!

Gloria W.
Gloria W.7 years ago

Mix feelings...

Julie V.
Julie Clayton7 years ago

Perhaps the people that put these poor animals in such small cages .. then to make them smoke, should be put in a cage themselves, I don't know how they can sleep at night.
So pleased the chimp has been saved, but so many other animals that have to suffer from the hands of the "so called human race" ... what a joke.!!

nora b.
Mora b7 years ago

Ho;e he didn't have withdrawal symptoms, but happy he's in a better environment at last.

Vera T.
Vera T7 years ago

There is nothing more depressing than watching a bored wild animal pacing inside a small concrete cage, thankfully there are more enlightened park like zoos that create an environment much like the animal is used to but it's not exactly freedom for an animal - unfiortunately with all the habitat destruction some zoos try and populate the more endangered species - so I don't think all zoos will ever close - cages and horrible zoos found all over the world should be banned completely.

Laura Mattei
Laura Mattei7 years ago

I would be delighted by putting in cages and in zoos those who voted that zoos shouldn't be abolished.

Laura Mattei
Laura Mattei7 years ago

I'd be so delighted by putting in a cage and in a zoo those who voted that zoos shouldn't be abolished.

Odile M.
Odile M8 years ago

OMG!!! Anything for money...This is crazy.....
I am so glad he is rescued and will FINALLY live like a real chimp should live in the wild with other animals......

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman8 years ago

Glad for the rescue. Thanx