Harrowing Video: Chinese Circus Trainers Beat, Chain, and Kick Animals

For Immediate Release:
18 July 2016

Olivia Jordan +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]


First-Ever Exposé of ‘Circus Capital of the World’ Reveals Abusive Training Methods, Distraught Bear Cubs, Sick Baby Tigers, and More

London – PETA Asia has just released the first-ever eyewitness investigation documenting shockingly cruel training methods, unabated violence, and decrepit living conditions for animals in circuses in the city of Suzhou, China, where some 300 circuses are located. PETA Asia’s video footage, which was recorded over the past year at 10 different circuses and training facilities, shows that struggling baby bears are chained by the neck and forced to stand on their hind legs for hours as well as bullied into balancing on seesaws and walking across parallel bars. Big cats pace incessantly inside cramped barren cages. Trainers drag, yank, hit, jab, whip, and kick the animals – including monkeys – to make them comply. Some animals become withdrawn, while others scream and frantically try to escape.

“Wild animals do not understand or want to perform these meaningless and often painful tricks, but they must do them over and over again or risk being beaten – or worse”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA is calling on kind people everywhere to refuse to attend animal circuses, whether at home or while traveling in China or elsewhere around the world.”

When they are not being trained or forced to perform, animals in circuses are routinely restrained by chains or ropes or locked inside cages, giving them no choice but to eat, drink, sleep, and relieve themselves all in the same place. Most bears kept in these unnatural conditions develop abnormal behaviour, including rocking, walking in endless circles, and biting on the cage bars. Every circus visited by PETA Asia’s eyewitness lacked adequate food, drinking water, housing, and veterinary care.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that cramped enclosures and abusive training techniques are not limited to Chinese circuses. Any circus, including those in Britain, that uses animals controls them with violence and confines them to cages, trailers, or boxcars. Shamefully, legislation to ban wild animals from circuses in the UK still has not been passed. In 2011, former Prime Minister David Cameron was instructed by Parliament to put an end to this archaic form of so-called “entertainment,” and despite overwhelming public support for a ban, he failed to act. PETA is now urging Theresa May to put England and Wales in line with the many other countries that have outlawed animal performances.

PETA Asia’s video footage is available for download here. Photos can be seen here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.