China dog circus show axed after online flak

A dog circus show scheduled to run in February next year at Resorts World Sentosa was cancelled within a day of tickets going on sale, after it received flak online for being cruel and unethical.

Ticketing service operator Sistic had first posted about the event - Chinese New Year Dog Circus - on its Facebook page on Friday morning.

The show featuring poodles performing stunts was to be held during the upcoming Chinese New Year, which will welcome the Year of the Dog on Feb 16.

According to the event synopsis on the Sistic website, which has since been taken down, the show was marketed as "the first and only dog circus from China".

Tickets were priced from $68 to $108, with three shows each scheduled for Feb 16 and 17.

Hours after Sistic's post, an online petition calling for a ban on the show had surfaced, led by Ms Summer Ong. The petition was addressed to Resorts World Sentosa, Sistic and events organiser HE Productions. It received 7,236 signatures in a day, and was closed on Saturday afternoon.

Ms Ong, in the petition, had called the use of animals for entertainment, especially in a circus, as a "severely archaic, cruel and unethical practice". Learning that the act was coming to Singapore was "outrageously appalling and extremely disappointing", she added.

She cited the closure of American travelling circus company Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in May this year. The circus, which began in 1919,was known for using wild and exotic animals in performances. It reportedly closed after falling attendance figures and high operating costs.

In an update on its Facebook post, Sistic announced the cancellation of the show and said that it had stopped ticket sales for the event.

"Thank you for your messages and comments. Please be assured that we take your concerns very seriously," read the post. "We will continue to provide updates as soon as they are available."

The event webpage link on Sistic's website has since been removed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2017, with the headline 'China dog circus show axed after online flak'. Print Edition | Subscribe