It is staggering that China does not have any law which protects the welfare of animals, either wild or domestic. China is the world’s most populous country. It is the world’s second-largest state by land area. China is the cradle of civilisation. It’s history begins with an ancient civilisation, one of the world’s earliest. For 2000 years it had the world’s largest economy and after a decline it has now become the world’s second-largest economy after America. It is the world’s largest exporter. And yet almost unbelievably the country is without an animal welfare law.
This tragic and neglectful sale of affairs is hammered home to us by the sad photograph of the saddest Polar bear on the planet who lives in a small enclosure behind a glass wall in a shopping mall. Imagine that, in a shopping mall. The owners of the shopping mall say, in defence of what they are doing to this polar bear:
“Some people don’t understand polar bear behaviour and maybe competitors are spreading rumours for their own profit. They like to sleep a lot… If you know their lifestyle you won’t think Pizza is sad.” – insensitive and ignorant or what?
The name of the bear is Pizza. As shoppers banged on the glass panel they try and awaken the listless and depressed polar bear. He barely and rarely rouses from his slumber. This has been noticed by visitors. The bear’s plight has kicked off a petition which has been signed by more than 150,000 people. The petition was organised by the British charity Animals Asia. The Charity is lobbying the owners of the mall to improve the conditions of the bear and other animals which include an Arctic wolf and Beluga whales.
A spokesman for the charity said that none of the wildlife parks meet the behavioural needs of the animals. Also, there’s not enough space to expand enclosures.
Disturbingly there are plans to open 14 more ocean parks (I presume attached to shopping malls; a sick and highly commercialised combination) in the forthcoming couple of years to add to almost 40 already in business. Customers are charged £25 a ticket. They are not like traditional zoos. These parks are highly commercial operations. They’re not about animal welfare or conservation quite obviously.
The charity spokesman says that without animal welfare law there is little that they can do to stop what is going on. The owners of these “attractions” refuse to close them but have agreed to enrich the animals’ environments. They plan to add snow and ice to Pizza’s concrete enclosure and to feed the bear with frozen food so that he has to work to eat. Big deal.
Chinese visitors are complaining that Pizza looks anxious and unhappy.
That’s the story. The bigger story is that without any shame or guilt or any attempt to rectify the situation, China does not have animal welfare law. It is far beyond the time when it should have been enacted. China are doing themselves a disservice in refusing to consider animal welfare seriously. The Chinese elite, the rulers, appear to be impervious to criticism which shows a massive insensitivity to animal welfare and a very uncivilised state of affairs.
This post is relevant to cats because they eat them in the south of China after killing them in the most gruesome and brutal manner. There are many other aspects of animal welfare in China which disgusts millions of people.