The decision by prestigious Beijing Zoo to host an exhibition of anti-animal performance posters has been heralded by jubilant campaigners as a historic breakthrough.
Beijing Zoo is one of China’s oldest zoos with six million visitors a year to its vast 220-acre site. The displaying of posters provided by Animals Asia represents a scenario that many would never have thought possible.
As with its campaign to end bear bile farming – now even included in activities at a number of schools – Animals Asia believes this represents a further mainstreaming of the cause. It also means further marginalising those who continue to cash in on animal cruelty.
Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale was delighted by the news and the change that is coming thick and fast in China.
“Our team is absolutely ecstatic, even as recently as 2010 mentioning the issue of animal performance was a sure fire way to be excluded and ignored by zoos and animal facilities. Now we have the support of the China Zoo Association as well as major zoos such as the one in Beijing.”
“We still have a very long road ahead, but we have also come further than we ever could have imagined. The change is tangible and we are seeing evidence of it everywhere.”
The Animals Asia team is now hoping that where Beijing goes, others will follow, particularly those that continue to use animals in circus performances. This exhibition also reflects the ongoing partnership between Animals Asia and Chinese zoos, and their joint commitment to ending animal performances under the supervision of the China Association of Zoological Gardens.
The images were designed by Animals Asia supporters as part of a competition launched in 2013.
Animals Asia founder and CEO Jill Robinson MBE said:
“These images continue to move people and have been seen the length and breadth of China – in adverts, via social media and in the hands of animal welfare supporters. Now they will take pride of place in Beijing Zoo. Attitudes are changing so fast. It’s thrilling to see this in the mainstream now and recognise that those who cash in on cruelty are being pushed to one side. Thanks to the China Association of Zoological Gardens animal performances belong to an era that China is fast leaving behind.”