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China Cracks Down on Zoos

China Cracks Down on Zoos

Last week, Chinese authorities cracked down on zoos and wildlife parks, ordering 53 parks to improve the conditions for their animals and revoking another 7 parks’ certifications.

The State Forestry Agency has six teams investigating over 500 zoos and parks displaying animals across the country. The investigation has been going on since October.

The agents found problems ranging from parks being too broke to provide basic care for their animals to parks trading in illegal animal products. The inspectors said that the poor management of the parks was leading to the deaths of rare species, as well as human injuries from animal attacks and accidents.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare office in Beijing has said it views these recent investigations as a step in the right direction. The campaign manager there said that the Chinese would be unhappy to learn about the abuses in some of the zoos.

It is impossible to tell if China’s decision to crack down on zoos has anything to do with recent outrage among animal activists over the way animals are treated in China. Pictures from the Animal Olympics in China of bears driving scooters across tight ropes or kangaroos boxing humans has incited a lot of vitriol from animal lovers.

While there are a lot of foreigners who criticize the Chinese for their treatment of animals, the cause of animal rights is very small in China–but it is growing. A Chinese legislator proposed China’s first national animal welfare law in 2006, but it failed to pass.

As much as we may want to laud the efforts of the Chinese for taking steps to finally bring its rampant animal abuse under control, we have the benefit of future-sight when it comes to these issues. The west’s modern secular animal rights community is older and more developed than China’s, and we can attest with certainty that regulation of animal entertainment hasn’t been effective in ending animal cruelty.

We have more and stricter laws for the care of animals in zoos and parks than China does, but we still see animals starved and tortured without proper veterinary care. The solution to the question of how to end animal cruelty isn’t answered by tougher regulations or more severe penalties for violations. 

The truth is that animal exploitation ends when we no longer view animals as property. Animals are no more meant for our entertainment than they are meant for our consumption. 

To the small group of dedicated animal activists working in China, the best advice we can offer is to work for the end of zoos instead of working for the regulation of zoos, and work to end animal consumption instead of working to regulate animal welfare.

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Photo: ltansey

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10:40AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Glad to see the progress. The Chinese are a smart people, emphasizing education, so whether it is because western public pressure, or a recognition of the need to keep a diversity of animals in the world, ... I don't care. As long as they're doing it.

10:55PM PST on Jan 21, 2011


5:47AM PST on Jan 18, 2011

I have heard about China treating animals badly, not being racist this is just what i have heard, i hope it changes x thanks for posting

1:19PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

I am quite surprised that they are doing this,given how they treat animals all over that country.Skinning animals alive for their fur, the dog and cat markets where animals are boiled alive or pulled apart limb from limb, in a slow agonizing death,because they believe dying this way makes the meat taste better.This country disgusts me and will NEVER get my tourism dollars.

4:57AM PST on Jan 13, 2011

I'm glad China is taking this actions, hope this will give a better life for these animals.

3:40PM PST on Jan 12, 2011


1:34PM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Yhe good to hear they are making steps to improve our brothers & sisters welfare. Long way to as in the rest of the world but progress.

10:00AM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Consider how China treats its people. Then consider being an animal in China.

The Chinese have discovered the Western world loves Pandas. China is reimbursed quite handsomely for the Pandas, one way or the other.

China is so vast the government cannot, and has little interest to, oversee animal welfare.

However, we must continue to speak out loud and to speak up long on behalf of animal welfare for The Voiceless Ones in China and around our planet!

11:29AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

aha perhaps this is the reason why China gave panda's as a symbolic gift to the UK ..

9:08AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

One day we will ALL answer for our cruelty and injustices.

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