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

For Immediate Release:
19 July 2016

Suzhou, Anhui Province – PETA Asia has just released new details from 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 that struggling bear cubs were chained by the neck and forced to stand on their hind legs for hours as well as bullied into balancing on seesaws and walking across parallel bars. Big cats pace incessantly inside cramped, barren cages. Trainers drag, yank, hit, jab, whip, and kick animals – including monkeys – to make them comply. Some become withdrawn, while others scream and frantically try to escape.

“Wild animals do not understand or want to perform these meaningless and often painful tricks, but they must do them over and over again or risk being beaten – or worse”, says PETA Asia’s Keith Guo. “PETA is calling on kind people everywhere to refuse to attend animal circuses, whether at home or while traveling 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 kept in these unnatural conditions develop abnormal behaviour, including rocking, walking in endless circles, and biting on the 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” – released its findings on bears used in circuses earlier this year in a video narrated by Hannah Quinlivan that shows that bears are hung by their necks to force them to stand and learn to walk. If they don’t remain standing, they will choke to death.

PETA Asia’s video footage is available here, and broadcast-quality footage is available upon request. Photos can be seen here. A copy of PETA Asia’s investigative report is available here.

For more information, please visit or PETA Asia’s Facebook page. You can also follow us on and WeChat (PETA_Asia).