A Hangzhou-based zoo that allegedly abused its performing white tigers during an animal show has sparked outrage on Chinese social media, although the zoo denied the abuse on Sunday, despite the video footage still circulating online.
According to the footage posted on Sina Weibo by the "rescue performance animals project," a Beijing-based animal protection organization, on January 12, animal trainers at Hangzhou Safari Park in East China's Zhejiang Province repeatedly beat its white tigers with whips during a performance.
One of the white tigers who seemingly could not bear the beatings any more, tried to pull the whip out of the trainer's hand. Seeing this, another trainer came up to whip the tiger even harder before the tiger fell into a pool, according to the footage.
One of the tigers was bleeding in the head, and its fangs had been removed, said the caption with the video.
A media staffer from the Hangzhou Safari Park's publicity department told the Global Times on Sunday, "the accusation of the mistreatment is based on non-facts, the animal management team is investigating on the incident recorded in the footage."
The video garnered more than 140 million page views as of press time. More than 630,000 users commented on the video, with the majority expressing sympathy and demanding the park immediately terminate such abusive acts.
The official account of the animal protection organization has been calling for animal lovers to call the Hangzhou citizens' complaint hot line, to report the situation.
In October 2010, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a regulation, stipulating that all captive animal performances should be banned in zoos, although it is routinely flouted across the country.