Pressure from concerned Chinese animal lovers has seen the cancellation of a major animal performance - a move being seen as a victory for China’s growing animal welfare movement.
The Jinan Animal Carnival Festival was due to take place in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province which has a population of 6m. It was to be hosted between September 19th and October 8, by the Jinan Bureau of Parks and Woods at the Quancheng Ecological Park. The animals would have performed daily and up to three times a day on national holidays and weekends.
The event was set to go-ahead despite the fact that in 2010, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MHURD) announced new regulations to stop all kinds of animal performance. This was followed up earlier this year with a comprehensive paper "The Development Outline of Chinese Zoos" that further outlined the ban.
Despite the clear intentions of the regulation and the will to use it to end the use of animals in performances, it had previously been questioned.
Animals Asia was among concerned animal protection organisations that posted objections to the proposed event to its social media platforms. With momentum building online, MHURD was deluged with calls from concerned citizens. Later an order was issued to the Jinan authorities to cancel the performance.
Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:
“This is heartening on so many levels. To see the outcry build was amazing but arguably more inspiring still was learning the authorities had acted. We have long campaigned against animal performance and this shows there is both the desire of the people and the will of the authorities to end it once and for all.”
Earlier this year Animals Asia received over 2,000 entries in a competition to find poster designs (pictured above) aimed at raising awareness of the issues. The best of the designs have since been displayed in locations across the country and shared on social media platforms worldwide.
Earlier this year Nanjing Zoo announced that since scrapping animal performance and switching emphasis instead to environmental awareness and education visitor numbers have increased.