With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, shopping malls are getting ready for the Year of the Rat.
Hamsters displayed at entrance of mall
One mall in Johor Bahru, however, received backlash for using live hamsters as part of its Chinese New Year decorations.
The hamsters were displayed inside a glass tank at the entrance of the mall.
Sutera Mall posted this video on its Facebook page on Jan. 6:
The video has over 10,000 views at the time of writing.
Act of animal abuse
The comment section has been inundated with heavy criticism from online commenters, most of whom felt that this was an act of animal abuse.
Sutera Mall gave the same reply to almost all of the comments:
Mall's manager issues explanation
In an interview with Oriental Daily, the mall's manager explained that the hamster boxes have ventilation, despite some netizens saying that the hamsters will suffer from the heat outdoors.
She added that the mall's management takes care of the hamsters every morning by giving them water, food, and ensuring that their living conditions are hygienic.
She said: “Hamsters are hardy animals. They usually sleep in the day and become active at night. When the netizens go down to take photos, it is when the hamsters are resting.”
The manager also said that Sutera Mall exercises creativity when decorating the mall for Chinese New Year, in accordance to the zodiac for that year.
To pay homage to the year of the rat, the mall decided to put a total of 40 hamsters inside different glass tanks this year.
She said: "In order to prevent the hamsters from fighting with each other, we sorted out the hamsters according to their species into the glass boxes."
The manager also said that the hamsters were bought from a pet shop: “The pet shop owner told us how to take care of them."
"We were thinking of keeping these hamsters here until Chinese New Year is over, but right now, we’ll have to see how things go."
"Regarding the issue of placing the hamsters at the entrance, we’ll not put it there for the time being and we’ll move the aforementioned glass tanks away.”
Top photos via Sutera Mall Johor Bahru/FB.