The tragedy of private zoos in China
December 27, 2002 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Private zoos in China. This is one of the saddest pieces I've ever read--all the stories are terrible but especially the one on the bears. I thought the article made a good point on the focus on human right violations in China with a lack of attention on the treatment of animals. There should be some kind of organization either from outside or internally that addresses this issue.
posted by zinegurl (17 comments total)
they also plan to import a bunch of tigers in order to offer up to tourists who savor the 'exotic' tasting foods.
posted by jasonspaceman at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2002

*waits for the obligatory 'screw the animals, what about the humans!' post*
posted by goethean at 11:40 AM on December 27, 2002

This is one of the saddest pieces of deja-vu (scroll down for the peruvian dogs post) I won't read because I'm not registered with the LA Times. Anyway, the link between underdevelopment, cruelty to animals and disregard for human rights seems pretty much established by now.
posted by 111 at 11:49 AM on December 27, 2002

My impression of China, after a two week visit, is that it seems to be particularly hard on flora and fauna: if it's not being eaten, it's being killed or harvested for medicinal properties. It's jarring to see the the bags of frogs and turtles squirming in the markets.

As an aside, why do people always seem to care about mammals the most? What about callously frying these things alive?
posted by brool at 11:57 AM on December 27, 2002

Paul Theroux, in his book Riding The Iron Rooster, comments on the lamentable Chinese habit of killing and eating all the pretty birds in their country. He also documents a feast at which he is offered all manner of horrible "delicacies". Theroux makes the obervation that when the people themselves have pretty horrible lives, it's hard to inculcate in them any respect for animals.

It's like the Asian belief that powdered rhino horn increases a man's sexual potency. It's superstitious crap, but it's well-entrenched and culturally accepted superstitious crap. The only way to improve the situation is to have a better-educated and prosperous people, and that isn't likely to happen any time soon.
posted by mrmanley at 12:02 PM on December 27, 2002

I dunno, the fact that the zoo's owners actually stir-fried and fucking _ate_ the liver of the giant turtle that had just died of sepsis really was the worst part of the story. Even worse than the bear-bile-harvest stuff

what about the dogs in cages in front of the restaurants, waiting to be cooked? pretty creepy also, isn't it? (my worst China culinary experience: boiled rat with black bean gravy in Shenzhen -- no, if you're curious I did not eat that, thank you)
posted by matteo at 12:07 PM on December 27, 2002


I hear you. I refuse to eat lobster because they are usually boiled alive. (Plus I think they taste horrible. Wait, maybe that's the main reason I won't eat them. But getting boiled alive is pretty harsh, even for a lobster.) On the other hand, I am an enthusiastic consumer of beef, and slaughterhouses aren't exactly paragons of humane animal treatment. Ditto pork, poultry, and fish.

But what can you do, man? You gotta feed the machine. (And the first yo-yo who advocates veganism can go choke on a wad of tofu. Evolution gave me both molars and incisors for a reason.)
posted by mrmanley at 12:28 PM on December 27, 2002

...the puppies and cats skinned alive are sold all over europe as fur collars and other fashions. The assistans in most shops have no idea what kind of fur it is, or how it is obtained, and when asked they'll helpfully look up the fact that it is imported from Germany . Now, last time I checked, Scandinavia [where i find these collars] and Germany weren't on the poverty/and disregard for human rights list of countries, so the fact that we trade with this stuff just makes me ill. Ignorance is bliss, said the fashion gal.
posted by dabitch at 12:29 PM on December 27, 2002

(on the up, dog and cat fur may soon be banned in the EU)
posted by dabitch at 12:36 PM on December 27, 2002

yeah! there oughta be a law, right? well heck, why don't the people there just demonstrate to get the laws changed and form some sort of organized group?

oh wait, they can't. not to mention they probably don't care, they are too busy trying to survive.

i agree, it sucks big time for man and animal in china. but i also think it's easy to bleed your heart out after you come home from your local supermarket with readily available (relatively) cheap veggies and (real or fake) meat.

hell, it almost reads like some sort of lifetime network "not without my stepdaughter's flight of passage talking walls" script. tied government hands, loopholes in the law, no one really pursuing the interests. i hate to see things like this happen, that's why i'm so glad i've got the wildlife waystation near my house. makes me feel warm and squishy inside. but then again, it's probably easier when you have interested, intelligent volunteers and an area that has at least *some* money to donate to your cause.

which brings me to my next question: are there any MeFites out there that are veterinarians or specialists in wildlife care that are willing to give up a month of their time to travel to china and give health check-ups/care to these animals? i think that would be a fabulous thing and would probably help out a lot.

and as far as the scorpion thing goes brool, you don't eat lobster do you?
posted by raygun21 at 12:46 PM on December 27, 2002

humans > animals
posted by cinderful at 1:07 PM on December 27, 2002

dabitch, I didn't see the skinned ALIVE part - just the skinned part. I'll read it again, but I read all the way to the bottom. Since I eat meat the skinned furry animals thing doesn't bother me. In fact, with very few exceptions, I prefer my meat skinned before I eat it. Humans can be more humane in their consumption habits but we've got nothing on the cruelty of wildlife.

This site is almost a parody of animal rights sites, it's so badly put together. Emotional manipulation needs to be subtle. For instance, in addition to puppies, they could maybe reference kittens and rainbows.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on December 27, 2002

Oh, check the second link small_ruminant, "When a dog is killed, its hair immediately begins to shed." - and the same goes for a cat, hence the skinning alive part.
posted by dabitch at 2:39 PM on December 27, 2002

If that's true, I'm all against it. There are better animals for fur. I won't take this site's word for it, though. It is too willing to stretch the truth to promote its agenda. The simple truth, without editorial comment, would convince me better. (But thanks for the info.)
posted by small_ruminant at 3:09 PM on December 27, 2002

I didn't originally get the information from this site but a documentary on Swedish telivision, produced by the BBC, if that makes you feel any better. I'm sure you can search for better information out there, I don't have the stomach for it.
posted by dabitch at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2002

*waits for the obligatory 'screw the animals, what about the humans!' post*

posted by homunculus at 3:38 PM on December 27, 2002

small_ruminant wrote (re: skinning puppies + kitties "alive"):
If that's true, I'm all against it. There are better animals for fur.

Why should dogs & cats be spared when rabbits and minks, etc are not? Rabbits are just as much a high-functioning mammals as cats. The difference, maybe, is that we don't typically keep a mink as a pet in the western world, hence we have no taboo with regards to wearing its fur. Or eating it.

I eat meat (though I don't eat as much as other omnivorous humans), so I'm not pushing for sparing the lives of animals against human consumption. I'm not into wearing fur (it just seems really extraneous, the way people wear furs here in the States), but I do wear leather. Still, it makes no sense to defend cats and dogs against eating/fur-harvesting, but not other mammals/animals as well.

(Though, admittedly, I guess I do it, too. I could never see myself eating cat. Or dog.)
posted by dryad at 1:02 PM on December 28, 2002

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