The story appears on

Page A5

September 29, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Society

Animal Games hit for cruelty

THIS year's Animal Games, already under way at the Shanghai Wildlife Park, have prompted a round of protests, with people concerned about the welfare of the animals.

The Olympic-like games feature sports competition between animals or between animals and people.

The games opened last Friday, and more than 200 animals - including 30 different kinds - are expected to participate in more than 40 events.

In the opening ceremony, a bear named Whinny, an elephant named Mary and a chimpanzee named Xiao Xiao lit the torch of the "Olympics." The event is scheduled to last for more than a month.

Audience members shot video of the opening ceremony and it spread fast on the Internet.

"It looks exciting, but I don't want to imagine how the animals were treated when they were trained to do all the stuff," said Wei Yin, a visitor to the park.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said the event is cruel and violates Chinese law.

A regulation issued by the State Forestry Administration makes it illegal from this year to use animals in performances in zoos and wildlife parks. This includes the use of animals to pose for photographs with visitors.

But the park argued the performances are for the animals' own good, maintaining their vitality. Officials from the park said that animals aren't kept in cages in nature, but instead are "doing sports" all the time. Thus certain sports will not only boost their health, but will help them keep their original character.

Nonsense, said the IFAW experts. "Animal performances are highly stressful and cruel to the animals," said Dr Kati Loeffler, veterinary adviser for the IFAW.

"If the activity of the animals is meant for the health of the animals themselves, the activities would only be natural behaviors that the animals do in the wild, and in an environment that is as close as possible to the animals' natural environment, where the animals are allowed to choose what they want to do according to their natural ecology and behavior."

She said that a law that protects animals from cruelty, and the consistent enforcement of such a law, are essential to the development of an advanced human society.

Local authorities remained silent yesterday.

In 2006, the wildlife park also held the Animal Games, and the event was later suspended due to protests, including from abroad.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend