Dear People Who Care About Animal Rights,
If the video doesn’t load go here to view it.
Last winter, around the same time the tiger at the San Fransisco Zoo mauled those people, the partial remains of a murdered tiger were found in a freezer at the Yichang zoo, a zoo where seven of the endangered species have died in the last four years (see articles here and here).
After months of hearing our primary students talk about visiting the zoo we decided to check it out, hoping that the mandated improvements had come to fruition.
The zoo is situated in the middle of the Children’s Park, which is central downtown Yichang. It cost 5 yuan (about 70 cents) to enter. The zoo was deserted. We were the only visitors, and later, when we thought the cow was having a still birth, we found no zoo keepers or any sort of personnel. You walk in through a row of dilapidated animal statues, set on the uneven cement tiles that line most of the zoo’s floor. To the zoo’s credit, there are quite a few large trees growing from the cement ground.
One of the first animals we encountered was the cow from the video. We stared at it for at least 30 seconds before we noticed the legs. Fascination ensued. After our unfruitful search for help we did our best to enjoy the rest of the animals but were plagued by the cow’s likely pain.
They still have three tigers, a lion and a lioness, a pair of bears (that were eating their own dung), a camel, some monkeys and goats together in a trash-filled open hole (spacious compared to everything else), porcupines with chunks of quills missing, birds, deer, a lone ostrich and others all looking fed but sad in their cement cages. The cages, though sparse, did seem clean with no more than a day’s worth of dung.
We returned again and again to the cow, but it didn’t seem to be any less comfortable than the rest of the animals in the 80 degree heat. After a while we couldn’t take anymore and decided to leave. The cow was lying down. We were sure it was dying.
On the way out we passed the lady who had sold us our tickets. She was asleep in the ticket booth. We stopped to look at the billboard advertising the animals of the zoo. It made us feel a little better to see the cow had those extra legs in that picture too.
When we got home we investigated our photos more closely and, sure enough, those legs weren’t coming or going anywhere. They were attached with skin. In fact, the cow, being an anomaly, may have been the best treated animal at the zoo. At least its cage was by far the best. It was the only one with a dirt ground and a real, full tree.
It was incredibly depressing to see all these majestic animals kept in such poor conditions for no apparent reason. We looked up animal rights and it sounds like they don’t exist in China. Can anyone tell us more about this? This zoo is a terrible thing for people to see, teaching them not to respect the health and dignity of living things. Is there anything that can be done for these animals?
This Ridiculous World
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 at 12:48 pm and is filed under China, Letters to Whomever, Yichang and tagged with 6 legged-cow, animal abuse, animal rights, Chinese education, cow with six legs, Expat, Ridiculous, tiger slaying, Zoo. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.