The pastor of a Texas mega-church used a live lion in a small cage and a baby lamb in his arms during his Easter Sunday service.
Pastor Ed Young of The Fellowship Church of Grapevine called it a creative Bible lesson; humane groups call it cruelty to animals in a place designed to teach compassion.
Stacy Smith of the Humane Society of Flower Mound attended worship service at Fellowship Church on Easter morning and recorded the scene with her cell phone.
"The handlers of the lion ran around the cage, sort of poking at him and taunting him to get him to lunge around," she said.
Pastor Young said the 17-year-old lion lives on a 55-acre ranch in California. "We would never do anything to endanger our people," he said, ignoring the fact that simply traveling from California to Texas would have been stressful and inhumane. "Also, we would never do anything to endanger an animal. We love animals."
Lisa Chatlain, who attends services at Fellowship, told KHOU TV that she enjoys Pastor Young and his message, but was disappointed in what happened on Sunday morning.
"I don’t feel it’s necessary," she said.
Police are investigating to see if the church violated any laws by using a lion. Exhibitors are required to carry a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Humane Society said it wants to work with the church so they can find a better way to convey their message without the use of live animals.
Here’s the report from KHOU TV: