years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
February 2008: Animals Asia investigators first witnessed the horrific spectacle of “horse-fighting” back in 1997 when we visited Xili Lake Safari Park in Shenzhen, southern China and documented a cruel and astonishing event. Today the practice continues despite our protests to the Government whenever we hear of its re-occurrence in safari parks and zoos across the country.
The practice of horse-fighting originates from a tradition of the Miao minority, who live in southwest China. According to legend, it began about 500 years ago, when two young men fell in love with a beautiful girl. The King of Miao decided to organise a horse-fighting competition so that the winner could then marry the girl in question. Today, especially in the Miao community, horse-fighting has become a regular event to celebrate the Miao New Year during November of each year. However, Animals Asia has found that government officials in Guizhou now actively encourage this cruel event in order to attract tourists, to “help the people to get rid of poverty”. Although not so widespread or popular, it is clear that horse-fighting occurs to entertain the visitors and tourists – and other areas such as Guangdong encourage its existence.
Generally, a mare is induced into season through the injection of hormones. She is led out into a ring that contains two roped and tied stallions and paraded in front of them for several minutes in order for them to pick up her scent. Goaded into sexual excitement the two stallions are then released and begin fighting with each other almost straight away while the mare stands just a few feet away. These fights are clearly occurring daily as evidenced by bruised and bloody wounds each time they are led out into the ring. The fights are allowed to continue for several minutes, with the horses relentlessly kicking and biting each other, until one finally runs from the ring. Other, even more disturbing, stories describe a stallion completely restrained while another kicks it to death.
With the “Green” Olympic Games just around the corner, the practice of horse-fighting is in appalling contrast to the message of living harmoniously with nature. The effect of witnessing such barbarity – particularly on children – is hard to imagine. If we want our children to grow up as caring, compassionate adults surely there are better ways of teaching them than this.
This is a repulsive spectacle by any stretch of the imagination and we urge supporters of Animals Asia to write swiftly to their local Chinese Embassy decrying such a cruel form of so-called entertainment. Embassy addresses can be found at: www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/embassy_list.htm