Chinese zoo ends live animal performances

16 June 2020

Even during the uncertainty caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, progress is being made for captive animals in China. On April 23 Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World, one of China's safari parks in the north eastern Shandong Province, officially announced that they would be stopping live animal performances with immediate effect.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said of the move:

“This announcement is a positive step in the right direction. Animals Asia applauds the zoo’s leadership in moving from a model of entertainment and coercion to one of education and observation. A clear example of kindness in action.”

Animals at Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World

Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World had previously featured performances from trained bears, macaques, tigers, lions among other animals. According to the statement put out by the zoo they have been working towards ending the performances for a number of years despite public support for the practice. They noted that some of the public were unaware of the harm that being used for performances can cause to animals.

Now the attraction plans to demonstrate natural behaviours of wild animals and encourage visitors to love animals just as they are and by organizing more educational activities.

Dave added:

“Our outreach work continues, not only to change attitudes towards live animal performances but also to improve the living conditions for captive animals across Asia. Of course our preferred situation would be for all animals to live in their natural habits and in harmony with their ecosystems and human beings. However from a pragmatic point of view we have inherited the current situation and we must count all progress towards a more compassionate and sensitive relationship with animals in human care anywhere as a success.”

Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World has been an active participant in workshops co-hosted by Animals Asia and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens. In 2019, they hosted Animals Asia’s "One Life - animal sentience and emotions" educational poster exhibition which toured China and exposed visitors to the concept of animal sentience and showed the common traits we share with non-human animals.

Animals Asia' "One Life - animal sentience and emotions" educational poster exhibition at Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World

Animals Asia’s captive animal welfare teams will continue efforts to advocate for better conditions for animals kept in zoos, safari parks and aquariums and work towards an end to the use of animals in circus performances. Watch this space for more news on developments in animal welfare as they happen.

Animals at Qingdao Forestry Wildlife World