Tags: Ted Cruz | ted cruz | tiger | endangered | controversy

Ted Cruz's Picture With Tiger Pelt on Facebook Causes Stir

By Todd Beamon   |   Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 06:47 PM

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is pictured by a rug that appears to be a tiger pelt in his Houston office — and the posting is creating a lot of buzz from both critics and supporters on his Facebook page.

Cruz and fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah are posing on the sides of the pelt. The caption with the picture reads: "Did a little shopping for the office with United States Senator Mike Lee in Houston today."

Though the picture is on Cruz's official Facebook page, it does not appear on Lee's page.

"It was just something he and Lee came across in someone's office yesterday in Houston," Catherine Frazier, a Cruz spokeswoman, told Newsmax in a statement. "Not sure if it's real — and he was just kidding about it being for his office."

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But many of the over 7,800 comments posted with the picture as of late Thursday afternoon questioned the pelt's authenticity. "Anyone who thinks that is a real tiger needs to do a few things," Edward Delgado said.

Samantha Miller of the Humane Society of the United States told the San Antonio News-Express that the pelt "looks authentic, though we cannot be certain unless we inspected the item in person."

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature lists tigers as an endangered species.

"With as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild today, we have lost 97 percent of their population in just over a century — due to poaching, the rising demand for wild tigers parts and products, and rampant habitat loss," the Washington-based group's website says.

The Cruz-Lee picture has also been attacked by Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"If the rug is real, Ted Cruz's use of it reduces a majestic once-living being to a doormat," she said in a statement. "Gunning down wildlife in order to make umbrella stands, rugs, and ornaments is frowned upon in the 21st century, as most people have come to learn from and be awe-inspired by the lives, intelligence, and social make-up of other living beings."

Besides the many Facebook comments, more than 17,100 people have said they "like" it — and over 5,200 have shared it with others.

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