Animals

There are no animal welfare laws to protect these circus animals

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Locked up tiger in a circus caravan

Image: Shutterstock/Katharina Wittfeld

When guests at circuses and zoos in China see animals performing funny and impressive acts, they don’t realize the abuse and mistreatment that goes on behind closed doors. China currently has no federal animal welfare laws, so every terrible thing they’re doing to these circus animals is completely legal.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) went undercover and documented some of the horrible conditions these animals live in every single day. In circuses such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, UniverSoul Circus, Jordan World Circus, and many others are guilty of horrific animal abuse. According to PETA’s report, baby bears and monkeys are chained up by their necks to strengthen their back legs, all animals are kept in confined spaces and deprived of basic necessities, big cats were forced to perform exhausting acts and were left in barren cages when not performing, and so many more atrocities. The report also included that all of the animals at each site they went to lacked proper food, water and veterinary care. Warning: the following video PETA took is a bit graphic.

Since China has no specific laws against this type of treatment, people are essentially free to treat animals however they please with no repercussions. Beijing does have a Wildlife Protection Law, but it mainly focuses on the way humans use wildlife, not animal welfare. It’s legal to farm, slaughter, and sell any animals for the use of food, wine or other products.

To us, this seems atrocious and unbelievable that it actually happens in this world. However, in China it happens more often, but why? Even with the continuous mistreatment of animals happening, people are beginning to catch on and say something about it. The treatment of these animals has started to create some public uproar, and is even the center of some protests. The confusing thing is, it’s not traditional or a part of history to treat animals like this.

Since people in China are moving more toward city life and away from the rural farming atmosphere, it is becoming less common for people to be numbed by seeing animals slaughtered often. When people see this treatment going on in their country, it upsets them more because they might have their own pets, and they may never have seen something this severe in their lives. While the newfound attention to these issues is great, it’s not quite enough.

You can do something to help. Choosing to never support organizations like these is the only way to stop them. Talk to your friends and family, and convince them to never see an animal act like a circus again. Buying tickets to these shows is only spending your money towards keeping these animals locked up and abused.

Lauren is a part-time editorial and graphic contributor at 301 Digital Media who has a strange obsession with cats and a love for Drake that will never be reciprocated. Follow her on Instagram: @lpetermeyer

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