Thursday, September 27, 2012

China's Animal Olympics

China's animal 'Olympics' triggers outrage

An "Animal Olympics" in China which features elephant basketball, monkey pole climbing, and dog and bear hurdle races, has been criticised by a rights group, describing it as "animal abuse".
The games, which opened Sunday at the Shanghai Wildlife Park, feature more than 40 sports.

An elephant lit the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony, the Shanghai Daily reported Tuesday.

Animals from across the world are participating.

The event will run till November.

The games "mistreat animals" and are "against their natural behaviour and hurts their health", said Sun Quanhui of the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Sun said such activities involve harsh measures during training like withholding food. Many animals die or suffer from injuries.

Bear and gorilla balance-beam competitions, bear bicycle races and monkey rope-skipping are some of the other highlights.

The park insisted they do not harm the animals.

"It is healthy sport as animals participate in the games based on their nature, like a cheetah race as they are known for their fast speed, and we use food as a reward," said Ni Li, a park official.

The Chinese law made it illegal the use animals in performances in zoos. But it does not stop other animal-related activities, the daily added.

Sun said the regulation only targets zoos.

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