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Steve Cofield

Ape kickboxing: disgusting or funny?

Steve Cofield

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They're weak on ground and appear to be one-dimensional but that doesn't seem to be the most important thing to animal activists who are angry that apes are being taught to kickbox in Thailand. It looks like quite the throwdown resulting in one of the poor apes stunned in the corner.

Critics of a zoo in Thailand are blasting the facility for hosting a cruel form of entertainment: ape kickboxing matches. Orangutans are dressed in boxing shorts and gloves and are bated to fight until exhaustion at Safari World, located outside Bangkok. And some of the orangutans are dressed in bikinis to parade around the ring. Previously, the zoo was closed six years ago on charges of animal cruelty for using the animals in the dangerous sport.

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Is this real or not? This video seems to suggest it's all part of a goofy animal show at the zoo.

No surprise, PETA is in an uproar:

"It's sad that people would find this entertaining," said Debbie Leahy, director of captive animals for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"When you see these animals performing what are completely unnatural tricks ... they're not doing it because they want to, they're doing it because they're afraid not to," Leahy said.

Unless there's nastier video we're not seeing it doesn't look cruel to me at all but I'm also not a card-carrying member of PETA.

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