Two polar-brown bear hybrids, six young beluga whales and five walrus calves are among the animals housed in horrifying conditions in a Chinese mall in Guangzhou.
The poor state of the animals and limited space has already come under fire from Chinese netizens, with a WeChat post on the shocking situation going viral.
This zoo in a shopping centre is the brainchild of the largest Chinese operator of ocean parks, Haichang Holdings.
Opened on January 9, 2016, the Grandview Aquarium has already drawn accusations of neglect in care. In addition, critics have accused the aquarium of keeping beluga whales and walrus calves in spaces too small for them to express their natural behaviours, and keeping their bears in conditions that threaten the animals’ long-term wellbeing.
Along with the China Cetacean Alliance, Animals Asia has contacted Haichang Holdings to outline the numerous animal welfare issues – including limited space and animal performances. There has been no response to date.
Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:
“Taking animals from their natural environments can never be defended, but when they’re rehomed in conditions like we’re seeing at the Grandview Aquarium it’s the worst possible situation. While those behind this may claim this as education, it’s clear the motivation here is bottom line profit. As long as businesses are allowed to use animals in this manner, wealth will always be put ahead of welfare.
“What is clear is that a significant section of Chinese society will not accept this, and the negativity surrounding the Grandview Aquarium is the only thing that will challenge developments like this.
“We all need to continue to publicly object to such facilities – and for those living locally, we say, ‘So long as animals are suffering, choose somewhere else to shop. Don’t reward cruelty.’”
Animals Asia and the China Cetacean Alliance will continue to monitor the situation and push for an end to this cruelty. You can see the conditions in this video, made by Wemedia01 (Vine videos excerpted courtesy of Wemedia01).
For a more humane business model, this mall needs looks no further than Chengdu, China. Last year, Animals Asia worked with a mall in Chengdu that was determined to buck the trend of using animals to sell their products.