For many people in China, just as the concepts of conservation and environmental awareness are fairly new, so is the notion that animals deserve decent treatment. But that is changing.
Yesterday a nationwide ban on circus-style animal performances in the 300 state-owned zoos that are members of the China Zoo Association went into effect. There is hope that the long-overdue ban will dramatically reduce the mistreatment of animals in Chinese zoos in the name of entertainment. Animals were often beaten during training or in performances and often suffered injuries or even died in the ‘zoo circuses’. It is estimated that Chinese zoo circus performances draw a total audience of more than 150,000 zoogoers annually.
The new ban also covers other common practices at Chinese zoos. The Telegraph’s Shanghai correspondent Malcolm Moore reports: “…zoos will no longer be able to pull the teeth of baby tigers so that tourists can hold them and will have to stop attractions where live chickens, goats, cows and even horses are sold to visitors who can then watch them be torn apart by big cats.”
Last week we visited the Kunming Zoo, which was built in 1953 and has been accused of treating its animals poorly. We were pleased to see its animal performance area had been dismantled. We applaud China’s new zoo regulations, but conditions for animals in zoos in China can still be improved greatly. We are hopeful that as China’s government and its people continue to show a greater appreciation for nature and wildlife, such improvements will come soon. Image: The Telegraph