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Monday, April 16, 2012

Tigers on horseback and chained monkeys riding bicycles: Cruel Chinese circus flouts government ban

By Ian Garland Illegal: China banned animal circuses in January, after a report found creature performers were horribly mistreated Zoos across China are still putting on cruel exotic animal performances, three months after they were banned by the government. In one show in Guangxi Zhuang yesterday, crowds cheered as a tiger teetered on the back of a horse, while monkeys, with chains around their necks, rode bicycles around in circles. The grim spectacle is slowly being outlawed across the country - 300 state-owned zoos were notified in January they had to close their circuses - but many others claim they were never told about the ban and have no intention of stopping. Chained: Monkeys are held on the back of bicycles by chains around their necks The government acted in January after increased pressure from outraged animal rights groups. A study by Animals Asia in 2010 found bears were often whipped and beaten with sticks, elephants were prodded with metal hooks, while tigers and lions were made to endure chronic pain by being defanged and declawed. In a published report, the organisation - based in Hong Kong - said: 'All of the performances observed were based upon fear and intimidation. To force animals to perform unnatural tricks, circus showmen frequently engage in negative reinforcement, whipping and striking the animals repeatedly. 'Animal performances portray the animal to the public in a humiliating way that does not promote empathy and respect. There is little educational value in seeing animals in conditions that do not resemble their natural habitat.' Humilating: Tigers are declawed and defanged before they are forced to jump through flaming hoops Cruel: A government study found zoos horribly mistreated animals in their care The government was also swayed by a three-month investigation by China's State Forestry Bureau that discovered that more than 50 zoos contained animals that had suffered severely from abuse. Speaking in January, David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director at Animals Asia insisted the ban would be strictly enforced. He told the Daily Telegraph: '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.' But it was business as usual at Guangxi Zhuang zoo this weekend - and many zoo owners claim they were never notified about the ban. Besides the complexity of policing the ban across a vast country, campaigners are also concerned zoos will be forced into bankruptcy and abandoned unwanted animals. David Neale added: “In some cases, I am not sure where the animals will go. 'In some cases I would recommend euthanasia, since there are animals in a very bad way after a few years of being in these performances' A tiger is muzzled so a young girl can sit on its back during one of the banned circus performances source:dailymail


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