For Immediate Release:
19 July 2016

First-Ever Exposé of ‘Circus Capital of the World’ Reveals Abusive Training Methods, Scared Bear Cubs, Caged Big Cats, and More

Sydney – 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, where some 300 circuses are located. PETA Asia’s video footage, which was recorded at 10 different circuses and training facilities, shows struggling baby bears who were chained by the neck and forced to stand on their hind legs for hours and were bullied into balancing on seesaws and walking across parallel bars. Big cats paced incessantly inside cramped, barren cages. Trainers dragged, yanked, hit, jabbed, whipped, and kicked animals – including monkeys – to make them perform. Some animals became withdrawn, while others screamed and frantically tried to escape.

“Wild animals do not understand or want to perform these abnormal, meaningless, and often painful tricks, but they must do them over and over again or risk being beaten – or worse”, says PETA Australia Campaign Coordinator Claire Fryer. “PETA is calling on kind people everywhere to refuse to attend animal circuses, whether at home or while travelling 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 in these unnatural conditions develop abnormal behaviour, including rocking, walking in endless circles, and chewing on 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 that uses animals controls them with violence and confines them to cages, trailers, or boxcars.

In Australia, two circuses – Lennon Bros and Stardust – continue to exploit lions and monkeys for entertainment. PETA Australia is urging all state governments to ban wild-animal circus acts.

PETA Asia’s video footage is available for download here, and photos can be seen here. For more information on issues affecting animals in Australia and to download a copy of the report on the plight of animals in the Chinese circus industry, please visit