So after writing up my blog, and thinking about the horrible zoos in China again, I decided to look up the news story on the internet. No luck, but I did find some other interesting stories.
There was a story dating back to 2003 about a zoo that was about to open. It wasn’t so much a zoo as a theme park or circus. You could have your photo taken with the animals, watch elephant shows and pig races, and even eat the animals, specifically alligators. But the general manager alleged that the only reason you wouldn’t be able to eat the tigers would be due to international law (http://www.captiveanimals.org/zoos/china.htm).
A story in The Guardian in April 2007 talks about China preparing to lift the ban on tiger products, which are used in Chinese traditional medicines. Xiongsen is a battery farm for rare animals: it is breeding tigers in captivity to put pressure on the Chinese government to in turn put pressure on the international community, to end the ban on tiger products. It breeds tigers and most get caged. Some then participate in the “feed show”, let loose into a pen with live prey. But the tigers are too domesticated to kill quickly, or even kill at all. The restaurant serves tiger, lion, peacock, snake, bear, crocodile and civet cat. And to to top it all off, there is a freezer storing parts of dead tigers, waiting for the ban to be lifted so they can be sold (http://www.guardian.co.uk/animalrights/story/0,,2056433,00.html).
However, there is some good news: when nature fights back. Six bears that were captive for their bile to be extracted (again for traditional medicine), killed and ate one of the keepers when he came in to clean their cage. And the other keepers had to wait two hours for the bears to calm down enough so they could remove his body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad the guy died: he was just doing his job and for all I know he may not have enjoyed it, but somebody is likely to pay for slicing into a bear’s flesh and milking its bile (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4331266.stm).