In a country that has indulged itself by eating shark fin soup and tiger penis, and where zoo visitors have found it amusing to assault caged animals with everything from rocks to sulfuric acid, animal activists embrace even the most subtle indication of progress in humane treatment of animals, reports China Real Time.
This week marked another milestone: The “animal carnival” scheduled in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan was shut down.
Slated for the Ecological Performing Arts Plaza in Jinan’s Quancheng Park, the “animal carnival” would have required animals to perform disturbing and dangerous feats for the amusement of spectators up to three times a day, according to Animals Asia, an animal-rights group that organized online opposition to the show.
Performances would have begun Sept. 19 and finished this Tuesday. Instead, the Plaza posted a message on its feed on Sina Weibo microblog site saying it had received orders from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to cancel the show, says China Real Time Report.
Attached to the message was a picture of a goat and a monkey — both in chains.
CHINESE CELEBRITIES JOIN FIGHT FOR WILDLIFE
Chinese celebrities and government agencies have both recently begun to push for improved treatment of wildlife, according to the report.
Chinese basketball star Yao Ming joined the anti-shark fin cause shortly after retiring from the NBA in 2011, and last year China’s State Council said it planned to ban shark fin from being served at official receptions.
China has also become more active in tiger preservation — launching plans in the past several years with the World Wildlife Federation to create a nature reserve between China and Russia.
In July, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued new guidelines designed to improve conditions at the country’s notorious zoos.
As part of the guidelines, the ministry expressly banned animal performances after video earlier this year from a “Wild Animal Olympics” at a Shanghai zoo showed a bear vs. monkey bicycle race end with the bear savagely attacking the helpless monkey. Zoo keepers beat the bear with sticks to free the monkey from its grasp as children screamed in dismay.
CHINA ACTIVISTS USE TECHNOLOGY FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS
Local media reports attributed the shutdown of the Jinan animal show to online protests and animal rights groups’ lobbying efforts. An official answering the phones at the Jinan office of housing and urban-rural development said he couldn’t comment.
An Ecological Performing Arts Plaza employee who said she was in charge of the show succinctly said, “This business is over with and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
Dave Neale, director of animal welfare at Animals Asia, said in a statement about the Jinan carnival’s cancellation: “We have long campaigned against animal performance, and this shows there is both the desire of the people and the will of the authorities to end it once and for all.”