Chinese social media reacts with fury to animal cruelty video

22 November 2016

Leaked footage of a young moon bear roughly treated at a circus has disgusted China’s enormous online community.

The animal cruelty video met with unprecedented levels of anger on Chinese social media showing just how far opposition to animal exploitation has spread.

For a traumatised juvenile moon bear at Qingdao Safari Park, in Shandong, this was one circus show too many. Video evidence shows him being roughly forced out of the performance arena using a metal rod while a confused and horrified audience looks on.

When grainy smartphone footage of the incident hit social media platform Weibo, the condemnation was unanimous.

Once Weibo user, in an apparent reference to China’s lack of animal welfare laws, wrote:

“Say no to animal performance, how animals are treated reflects our legal system”.

Another said:

“I do not watch animal performance because I know the cruelty behind the ‘happy’ show.”

Other concerned netizens called for action:

“Asiatic black bears are a class II protected species in China, so we can make a phone call to the local Forestry department to see whether the circus has a license or not.”

The Qingdao Safari Park is a state run facility and their animal performances directly contravene State Forestry directives to end the practice.

Such was the reaction on Weibo that the safari park also took to the social media platform to release a statement.

They claimed a female bear in the same performance was in heat prompting one of the handlers to remove the male bear to avoid an incident.

The park argued the bear wasn’t “beaten” by the handlers but was merely “pushed” with a tool and therefore no “abuse” took place.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“The social media reaction we’ve seen to this and other recent incidents is unprecedented and extremely heartening. Despite the video not being particularly graphic, Chinese netizens have been outraged, which shows how far advanced concepts of animal welfare have spread.

“Most importantly this outpouring of public opinion has a very real chance of resulting in tangible change. As animal exploitation becomes more vocally opposed it will become increasingly socially unacceptable.

“It goes without saying that Animals Asia is extremely concerned about what is seen in this footage and as part of its Captive Animal Welfare work will continue to raise its voice in their defence as well as thousands more animals suffering similarly within China.”