Circus cancelled as Chinese stress animal welfare
BEIJING (AP) - A circus featuring animal performances was cancelled after citizens called for a boycott and tipped off authorities, which activists have billed as a victory for a growing animal welfare movement in China.
The promotional material for Jinan Animal Carnival Festival's suggested the shows would have bears lying on their backs twirling flaming rods, tigers riding horses and a monkey riding a goat.
Chinese regulations ban animal performances, but animal rights activists estimate hundreds of shows still take place each year. They say animals are kept in poor conditions and trained under fear and stress to perform tricks.
A local Communist Party-run newspaper, the Qilu Evening News, reported that citizens had organised an online boycott of the nearly three-week festival that was due to open in late September and tipped off the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development, which has responsibility for zoo management. The paper said the ministry issued an "urgent notice" for the festival not to go ahead and that the organisers had refunded tickets.