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    Moscow Zoo Sues Over Rented Raccoon 'Erotic' Photoshoot

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    An angry Moscow petting zoo is suing an advertising agency for having rented a raccoon for a nude photoshoot. The zoo says the individual racoon was left traumatized and obsessed with women's breasts, and that the reputation of all raccoons is at stake.

    Thomas the raccoon has unwittingly become the center of two lawsuits, with the threat of a third.

    Moscow Zoo, which allows visitors to interact with animals, has filed a lawsuit against a Russian production company, Art-Msk, for exploiting Thomas last year.

    Zoo officials say the production team rented Thomas, but then used the raccoon in an erotic photoshoot with a topless blonde model, without informing zoo staff.

    Spokesman Viktor Kiryukhin told reporters that Thomas was traumatized when he returned and that staff "noticed he was attracted to women's breasts," adding:

    "It took two to three months to change his behavior… Now he is happy again, but he was sad before."

    Thomas is pictured on the zoo's Facebook page with the lawsuit filed on his behalf.

    But the zoo's suit doesn't just cover Thomas.

    Their paperwork, which was filed on Tuesday, March 14, reveals that the zoo claims all raccoon-kind has been maligned by the actions of the Art-Msk photographers.

    "By photographing him with a naked woman, the defendant has caused damage to the raccoon population. Now everyone who sees this video or photographs will directly associate raccoons with erotica."

    In response, Art-Msk has branded the zoo's lawsuit as "absurd," countering that the raccoon was responsible for their model's nudity, insisting that Thomas not only stole the model's bra, but ate it too!

    Valeriy Bogatov, head of video marketing at Art-Msk, told local media:

    "We feel like we're the victims here.

    "When the zoo told us they would sue us, we told them we'd file our own suit for the cost of the bra," Bogatov said.

    "I said it as a joke, because I thought they were joking too. Now it seems it is serious."

    Meanwhile, the zoo, which has the motto "Little animals are not toys," has also filed a separate lawsuit appealing to Russia's courts to forbid erotic pictures of animals, arguing that it is "immoral to mix nature with eroticism."

    They are running an anti-animal cruelty campaign with slogans including: "Down with the exploitation of raccoons!"

    Some reports in Russia have suggested that the row is an orchestrated public relations stunt: an allegation the zoo denies.

    With the international interest in Thomas, the zoo's director has reassured concerned fans that the unwitting star has made a full recovery.

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    Tags:
    photography, photoshoot, erotica, raccoon, animal, zoo, animal rights, lawsuit, Moscow Zoo, Moscow, Russia
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