A Youtuber has been criticised for feeding her pet fennec fox a vegan diet after photos of the animal looking worryingly thin were shared online.
Animal rights activist and blogger Sonia Sae, from Barcelona, Spain, claims that she rescued her pet fennec fox, named Jumanji, from a breeder in 2014.
Despite being classified as mostly carnivorous animals which naturally eat small animals such as lizards, birds and eggs in the wild as well as fruits, Sae admits that she feeds him an exclusively vegan diet consisting mainly of cat food.
In recent posts shared by Sae online she has also revealed that Jumanji has experienced a number of health ailments including hair loss, partial blindness and weight loss.
Now, as a result of Sae’s diet admission coupled with images of the fennec fox appearing worryingly thin, her followers and animal rights activists are claiming the vegan diet is to blame.
Fuelling the debate, Facebook user Alice Natanya Moore shared a number of photos of Jumanji and accused Sae of animal abuse.
“Sonia has refused to listen to experts who are all appalled at her treatment of Jumanji and have contacted her regarding the health of her fennec fox,” she wrote in her post, which has since been shared more than 24,000 times.
On its website, Foxes and Friends state that a domesticated fennec fox's diet should “reflect their natural wild diet.”
This includes feeding them “high quality meat-rich dog food, wild canine food brands, cat food, meats, insects, mealworms, custom dietary mixtures, or any combination.”
It also insists that the ingredients should always include “actual meat.”
Since the allegations, Sae has been bombarded with comments from angry animal lovers while a petition demanding she either feed Jumanji a “proper” diet or have him removed from her care already has more than 1,000 signatures.
In response, Sae has posted on Facebook explaining that her pet’s concerning appearance is due to a skin allergy caused by plant pollen and insists that he gets “all the needed amino acids for a carnivore animal such as taurine and lysine.”
In a separate post she argues that feeding an animal a meat-based diet should itself be considered animal abuse.
“They use the word 'abuse' to describe the act of feeding [it] food that no animal had to die for. Despite the obvious oxymoron, any other non-vegan alternative does involve abuse by default,” she wrote.
The popular Youtuber has announced that she will be releasing a video addressing the health concerns to prove that Jumanji is not malnourished.
The Independent has contacted Sonia Sae for comment.