At its headquarters in Beijing, SOHO China is displaying a striking collection of bear images painted by more than 80 of the world’s most caring artists and celebrities—including leading Chinese painters Zhou Song and Cui Zimo, contemporary South African artist Lionel Smit, and the designer of the 2008 Olympic Games medal, Xiao Yong. The collection is part of a PETA exhibition that aims to call attention to the plight of bears used in circuses. Bobo, the first robotic bear in China, is also at the show to tell the story of her “escape” from a “circus.”
The exhibition sends viewers the strong message that they should never support circuses or other animal-exploiting operations. There’s reason to be hopeful as more people learn about cruelty to animals and how they can stop supporting it.
PETA’s investigation into circuses in China revealed that bears were forced, under the constant threat of violence, to spin hula hoops, box, and play trumpets. Among other forms of abuse, bear cubs were strung up by the neck for hours in order to train them to stand on their hind legs.
While bears in the wild can roam for hundreds of miles, those in circuses are routinely confined to cages the size of dog kennels when they’re not performing, which leads to psychological distress, arthritis, pressure sores, and other debilitating conditions. They’re also denied the opportunity to hibernate, which can result in behavioral issues as well as a chronic inability to regulate their own bodies.
What You Can Do for Bears
Please pledge never to buy a ticket to a circus or any other event that uses animals. Instead, support acts that use only human talent. This will let circuses know that animals aren’t ours to use for entertainment and that you won’t support an industry that profits from cruelty. Don’t forget to urge your family members and friends to do the same.