A Day in the Life of a Bear Cub in the Chinese Circus Industry

Posted on by Aoife Kilalea

Imagine being deprived of any comfort, chained to a wall, unable to move more than a few inches, and beaten into performing confusing and meaningless “tricks.” This is what life is like for bears in the Chinese circus industry.

A PETA Asia investigator visited 10 of the more than 300 circuses and animal-training facilities in Suzhou, China, and what the eyewitness uncovered was horrifying.

Bear cubs are chained or tethered to a wall by chains around their necks and forced to remain upright, sometimes for hours, in order to train them to walk on their hind legs.

Bear chained in China circus

If they don’t force themselves to stay upright, they will choke or hang themselves.

Bears chained China circus

The cubs appear to attempt to comfort each other as they struggle.

Bear cubs chained China circus

Some cubs are tethered to a hook in the ground by a short rope, making it impossible for them to move more than a few inches in any direction.

Bear cubs tethered to ground China circus

Through constant violence and intimidation, trainers force bears to jump over objects, walk on their hands, and perform other confusing tricks.

Bear pulled by rope China circus

Despite the cries and screams of young animals, trainers force them to continue by yanking on their neck ropes, dragging them, grabbing them by their fur, and yelling at them. If the cubs make a mistake or stop, they’re hit.

Bears beaten China circus

Some of the bears’ snouts are painfully pierced with metal rings—often without painkillers. Trainers tie ropes to the rings to lead the animals around.

Bear snout pierced China circus

When the bears are not being forced to perform, they’re confined to cramped, barren cages.

Bears cages China circus

They cry out, pawing and biting at the bars, desperate to escape this hell on Earth.

Bears caged China circus

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Sick bear cub China circus