The Chinese government issued a ban on animal circuses and certain types of animal abuse at zoos that went into effect on Tuesday.
According to The Telegraph, the ban entails several different stipulations that zoos will need to comply with, and pertains to the 300 state-owned zoos that are part of the China Zoo Association. Firstly, the zoos will be forced to stop pulling the teeth of tiger cubs so that zoo visitors can hold them. Zoos will also have to put a halt to the selling of animal parts in their shops, and the zoo restaurants will have to refrain form serving dishes made using rare animals. On top of this, zoos will need to end the attractions in which live animals are sold to visitors and then thrown to the wild cats, allowing the visitors to watch the cats rip the defenseless animals to shreds. Finally, the zoos will also need to provide the animals with adequate housing, away from disturbance and irritation, reports Newser.com.
Unfortunately, these are not even the most shocking events that take place at these shows. Xiao Bing, the chairman of the local animal protection association in Xiamen, told The Telegraph:
"I also saw one entertainment park where the monkeys seemed to have wounds all over their bodies. The manager told me the monkeys got hurt during live monkey-fighting shows."
The Animals Asia Foundation, which has been attempting to end the exploitation of all animals for years, recorded a video cataloging the abuses of animals in China. The animals are made to live lives of pain, misery and fear. They are whipped, beaten, declawed, and have their teeth ripped out. Elephants are prodded with electric shocks during training sessions. Black bears are guided and pulled around by cables inserted into their nostrils. According to the narrator of the video, Terry Waite, "Like with any form of torture, they either succumb or die."
After a three-month investigation, China's State Forestry Bureau discovered that more than 50 zoos contained animals that had suffered severely from abuse.
While the ban is, of course, a positive thing, it also causes some problems to arise.
Apparently, the non-state zoos say that they were not notified of the ban. However, David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director at Animals Asia, insists that there will be avid policing to make sure the ban is enforced.
Also, the ban will inevitably push many zoos towards bankruptcy, leaving many animals with nowhere to go.
Despite potential problems, Neale remains optimistic:
"We are hopeful it will have an effect. I visited Chongqing zoo before Christmas and their circus was clearing out, and Kunming zoo has also said its circus has been closed."
The problem of animal cruelty in circuses is not exclusive to China; it happens in the United States as well. According to the ASPCA, many animals are still trained using physical abuse and intimidation. They are whipped, shocked, and clubbed. There is currently no government agency in the United States that monitors the animal training of circuses. In addition to this, the immense amount of traveling isn't good for the animals. Born Free notes that during traveling, the animals may be chained or caged for very long periods of time, standing in their own excrement and subjected to extreme temperatures.