Saturday, February 23, 2008
Just when it seemed that the Chinese had plumbed the depths of animal humiliation, along comes something even worse.The country which gave you bears riding bikes now proudly presents lions and tigers on horseback.In one of the nation's most notorious zoos, applauding spectators are treated to a bizarre display as a 30-stone lion leaps on to the horse's back.
Then it rides around the ring while a trainer with a whip keeps it moving.After that, a 35-stone tiger climbs up on the same terrified steed for its turn in the limelight.The shocking pictures come from the animal park at Xiamen in Fujian, south-east China, where the public seem to delight in humiliating circus-style stunts and have no regard for animal cruelty.Conditions are poor, with big cats including lions, tigers and leopards and other large animals including bears kept in solitary confinement in tiny cages.Elsewhere in the country, bears ride bicycles at an "Animal Games" in Nanjing
At the Xiogsen Bear and Tiger Mountain village in Guilin, live animals are fed to tigers as a show for tourists. Bears pulling cars in a race with a strong man caused anger after the bizarre stunt was shown in Jinan last year.
In a display in Changchun, a tiger is put in a cage with an ox while muzzled so it tries to attack its prey but cannot kill it, producing an agonizing and long-drawn-out battle.Save China's Tigers, a charity which has a branch in the UK,campaigns to save animals trapped in the country's zoos. It carries out public education schemes in China to raise awareness . And it aims to free tigers from their cages, set up breeding programmes and reintroduce the proud creatures to the wild after teaching them how to hunt for themselves.