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Bullfights Banned over Animal Welfare

The Beijing Daxing District government has decided to cancel its Spanish bullfighting programme after strong appeals against animal cruelty from deputies to the Beijing Municipal People's Congress (BMPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).


Due to pressure, Shen Baochang, secretary of the Beijing Daxing District Committee of the Communist Party of China said a bull ring now under construction -- said to be the largest in Asia -- will now show tame animal performances and circuses instead of bullfights in the future," the Beijing News reported.


Investors in the project at the Beijing Wild Animal Park said the original plan for the bullfighting involved United States' rodeos rather than Spanish-style fighting.


"In Spanish bullfighting a matador kills the bull. In the US, a cowboy rides a bull but does not kill it," park officials were cited as saying.


It is reported that in the US style, competitors try their best to remain 10 seconds on a bull's back in order not to be thrown away by the animal.


Park officials said what to perform after the bull ring is finished will be decided by the district government and other authorities.


With 6,400 seats, the ring is set to be completed by April, and was to begin bullfighting on May 1, according to the original schedule.


Shen Mengpei and Wu Shoulun, both BMPC deputies, complained to Shen Baochang late last month, saying that Spanish bullfighting is cruel and China should not introduce a tradition that is believed to be uncultured in Chinese tradition.


Liang Congjie, a CPPCC member said in his proposal that Beijing is preparing for the 2008 Olympics and should display civilization, not cruel treatment to animals.


Mang Ping, an expert in animal welfare, said even if officials stage US or Canadian-style rodeos rather than bullfights, calves still could be hurt. In rodeos, young animals are routinely caught by men who ride horses to chase the calves down. The cowboys lasso or throw ropes around the animals' necks.


The men -- who are timed for a winning score -- jump off their horses and tackle the animals by twisting their necks till they fall.


"Such empty-handed competitions even have examples of the necks of calves being broken in the United States, or other injuries," she said.


"It goes against moral principles," Mang complained.


(China Daily April 2, 2004)

Animal Welfare to Be Legislated
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