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).
China zoo and safari park investigation: February 2011
In 2010, Chinese government ministries with responsibility for zoos and safari parks issued directives aimed at ending acts of animal cruelty and improving the welfare of animals held in captivity. Click here for details.
In late 2010 and Feb 2011, Animal Welfare Director, David Neale, Animal Welfare Officer, Lisa Yang and China PR Officer, Sailing Wang visited safari parks and zoos in Tianjin, Chongqing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, and Changzhou to assess the initial impact the directives were having.
The good news
The animal performance at Chongqing Zoo has been cancelled and, during the visit, the circus team were packing up and leaving the zoo. This is a direct result of the directive issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Development banning animal performances in zoos.
The feeding of live chickens to tigers and lions used to be a common sight at Hangzhou Safari Park; our investigators were pleased to hear that the government has ordered the safari park to end this practice.
The bad news
Unfortunately the safari parks in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Changzhou (Yangcheng Safari Park) and zoos in Ningbo and Hangzhou continue to use animals for circus performances. Bear cubs are forced to ride bikes, perform acrobatics and box each other at Hangzhou Safari Park, tigers and lions are forced through fear and intimidation to perform at Yangcheng Safari Park, and young bears with metal muzzles on their noses and chains pulled tight around their necks are forced to skate and perform at Hangzhou Zoo.
In addition to animal performances, the feeding of live chickens to tigers, lions and wolves is still very popular and no more so than at Yangcheng Safari Park where our investigators watched visitor after visitor delighting in throwing live chickens to hungry wolves, lions and tigers. In many cases the chickens were even being bought for children to throw themselves, with crowds cheering with delight as the wild animals ripped them apart. Our investigators watched with despair as one live chicken was ripped in two by a pack of frenzied wolves. Click below for video footage - please note this video contains graphic scenes.
During the course of the investigation, David, Lisa and Sailing continued to document the general living conditions for animals in China’s zoos and safari parks, and once again found animals living in appalling circumstances. Animals that are barely existing and just waiting to die, such as this old lion living in a concrete cell 15ft by 10ft with nothing except a wooden platform to lie upon, simply waiting for his body to give in.
A white tiger and a chimpanzee, both suffering from partial paralysis, dragged their bodies around wet concrete cages at Tianjin Zoo.
Further examples of appalling conditions include this female orang-utan and her infant living in an 8ft square concrete box with just a tyre for enrichment at Hangzhou Safari Park, and a chimpanzee alone in a concrete cell at Shanghai Safari Park. These are commercial parks with modern facilities for the visiting public and the living conditions for these animals are unacceptable.
The commercial safari parks also continue to exploit baby animals for their own gain such as these young tigers, lions, and a baby monkey and jaguar, forced to live alone in sterile surroundings in an “animal nursery” at Hangzhou Safari Park.
Animals Asia will continue to investigate zoos and safari parks across China, documenting acts of cruelty and neglect, and the general living conditions of the many thousands of captive animals. Animals Asia supports the work of the China Association of Zoological Gardens to end the use of animals in such abusive animal performances and to develop welfare standards that provide for both the physical and psychological needs of the animals they house.
For more information on our continuing zoo and safari park investigations, including individual investigation reports, please click here.