Latest News:  

English>>China Society

Bear attack on monkey sparks calls for laws

By Xie Yu  (China Daily)

09:53, May 10, 2013

Please read:Bear attacks monkey in circus show accident at city zoo

A black bear's attack on a monkey in the Shanghai Wild Animal Park (SWAP) has triggered heated discussion about animal performances in China, which are not regulated by legislation.

A video clip uploaded online on Monday shows the black bear biting the monkey's neck during a bicycle riding show.

The park confirmed the attack and said the monkey is fine, and the performance resumed on Wednesday.

"The performance is pure mistreatment," said Zhang Dan, co-founder of China Animal Protection Media Saloon.

"Not a single monkey or black bear would willingly accept such training for the bicycle riding act. Imagine how hard it is for a big, clumsy bear to keep its balance on a bike. It totally goes against the nature of the animal. But they cannot speak for themselves about their fear, pain or unwillingness, and that is very sad."

There are no strict laws on animal performances in China. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a circular in 2010 banning animal performances nationwide, but it did not specify penalties.

"I know there is such a circular, but it does not apply to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park," said Pan Weihua, spokesman for the park.

The circular only affects zoos directly under the ministry, like Shanghai Zoo, which is fully supported by State finances, Pan said.

SWAP, though a State-owned company, does not receive State funding, but carries out scientific research programs that serve the country, he said.

SWAP employs about 500 animal keepers and researchers at a cost of 100 million yuan ($16.1 million) annually. It barely makes enough money from admission tickets and performance charges to cover those costs, Pan said.

SWAP designs animal performances based on the creatures' life habits, which he calls "healthy sports".

"We used to have tigers jumping through a ring of flames. It was a big hit with audiences and profitable. But we later quit doing it because tigers are naturally afraid of fire and we did not want to psychologically harm them," he said.

Zhang said animals in such performances suffer.

"The animal training is all about whips from the trainer, blood, tears and hunger of the animal," she said.

Some cases of animal abuse have drawn widespread media attention recently. Last week, footage emerged online of two zoo workers mistreating a tiger at a zoo in Taizhou, Zhejiang province. In the footage, a man in uniform was riding on the back of the tiger, and another man was slapping the animal's head.

In 2010, 11 rare tigers were starved to death at Shenyang Wildlife Zoo in Liangning province.

"China needs national legislation on animal abuse, and authorities should streamline the administration over zoos and wildlife parks," said Hua Ning, a project manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"The point is that the major purpose of a zoo or a wild animal park is to improve people's understanding of animals and strengthen their awareness of animal protection."

Some successful zoos and parks overseas make good money by engaging adults and children in animal protection activities, which is much more sustainable than animal performances, she said.

Urban zoos in China are under the administration of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, while many wildlife parks that emerged after the 1990s are under the forestry authorities.

We Recommend:

Photo story: Flight attendant's daily work

Touching love stories in earthquake

China’s weekly story (2013.4.19-4.26)

Female pilot rescues quake-wounded

Cool shades
Summer is coming

Images of Hong Kong
in 15 years

China’s weekly story (2013.4.13-4.19)

Nothing left but heartbreaking memories

Photo story: Meeting a telephone operator girl

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:HuangJin、Liang Jun)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Victory Day parade held at Red Square

  2. New-type fighters in night flight training

  3. Italian container ship accident

  4. Landslide in quake-hit Lushan kills 3

  5. Domestic violence by men 'shocking': survey

  6. Flight attendent recruitment in Wuhan

  7. Exotic landscapes in Xinjiang

  8. Warner Brothers turns 90

  9. Quake-hit ebony struggling to recover

  10. Ferrari planning sales push in China

Most Popular


  1. Ending 'too big to fail' going to be hard work
  2. PwC: Environment hard for Chinese banks
  3. The Rise of the South
  4. Chance for dual face-to-face talks slim
  5. China's regional disparity offers growth potential
  6. US war on terror bent by strategy
  7. China's rating not jeopardized by slower growth
  8. Innovation: The engine for development
  9. Rising wages reach a milestone
  10. Japanese PM Abe unable to read situation

What’s happening in China

Wenchuan Earthquake Memorial Museum officially opens to public

  1. Cold poisoning case reveals need for open gov't
  2. H7N9 kills 1 in central China
  3. TV campaigning advised in village elections
  4. China to campaign against fake children's use
  5. Authorities expose illegal disguised TCM ads