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Animal rights groups seek performance ban

By Zheng Xin (China Daily)

08:51, April 16, 2012

Tigers trained to greet visitors at a show in Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Animal rights activists have called for a ban of all animal performances. (Tang Huiji / for China Daily)


Animal rights groups are calling for a ban on all animal performances in China, including live shows, petting zoos and photo sessions.

However, their campaign - which also calls for a ban on dolphin shows - is said by some to have gone too far.

Animal performances and circus shows, especially in Beijing, have "seriously impaired the country's and city's image with brutality and savage behavior", Liu Huili, an animal rights supporter and researcher with Green Beagle, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization, said at a symposium on Saturday.

Attendees at the symposium, including researchers and volunteers from Green Beagle, China Zoo Watch and the Beijing Loving Animals Foundation, proposed the performance ban, especially in the capital city.

China Zoo Watch conducted a study from January 2011 to the end of March, in which it sampled more than 40 zoos nationwide. It found that animal performances, which it claims often involve acts of cruelty, are common nationwide.

About 50 percent of urban zoos, 91 percent of animal parks and 89 percent of aquariums offer such performances, according to the survey.

Performances include animal wire walking, jumping through fire loops, standing upside down and boxing, which "might seriously impair the animals' physical and psychological health", Liu said.

In Beijing, the wildlife park in Daxing district offers shows of dogs jumping through fire loops, and another wildlife park near the Badaling section of the Great Wall features wolves and tigers jumping across fiery circles and bears playing with flaming sticks, the survey found.

Both parks declined to comment on the issue when reached by China Daily on Sunday.

Liu Nonglin, a senior engineer of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, said a zoo should be a demonstration site for animal protection.

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