Campaigners ‘revolted’ by farmed tigers fed live domestic animals for so called ‘entertainment’

A recent visit to China by a leading animal welfare expert proves that tigers are being used to make illegal tiger products and kept in inhumane conditions akin to battery farms that masquerade as tourist attractions.
The visit in September 2011 to the Heilongjiang Tiger Park, China by David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director of Animals Asia gave a shocking eye witness account to the TigerTime campaign team about the conditions at the park. He stated: “A large proportion of the tigers are enclosed in 4ft x 8ft enclosures which fail to meet even their basic welfare needs.”

David Neale, who was in China investigating animal welfare, said the effect of housing these tigers in such sterile enclosures leads to many individuals exhibiting abnormal behaviours. His visit revealed that the park falls far below the acceptable standards of animal welfare.  “Animal parks are meant to take great care of their animals while promoting animal conservation and welfare to the public. Heilongjiang Tiger Park, however, makes no attempt to provide the necessary care or to educate its visitors for the benefit of welfare and conservation,” he said.

“A wild tiger typically covers between 30 and 50 kilometres a day and rarely interacts with other tigers. Caging them and making them fight for food with hoards of other tigers is cruel and unnatural,” adds wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd, who launched the TigerTime campaign last year to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s most iconic big cat.
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Shockingly, Heilongjiang also sells live animals including chickens, ducks and cows to the general public, which are then released into the tiger enclosure by park employees. The park boasts that this is an ‘exciting activity for visitors’.
“The feeding of live prey to large predators causes severe stress and suffering prior to death for the prey species, which does not educate the public on the wild tiger. This disgusting live action of tigers preying on helpless animals only serves as a cruel form of entertainment,” adds David Neale.

It is not only the cruel animal practices that take place at this park that are the problem. Heilongjiang openly sells tiger bone wine, which is illegal worldwide.

“The sale of tiger products in any form was banned in China in 1993,” says David Shepherd. “Selling this wine is not only illegal but has a detrimental effect on the wild tiger population as it fuels a booming demand for tiger products.”
The TigerTime campaign aims to bring an end to the illegal trade of tiger products from any source. And, with only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, ending the trade in tiger products is vital to its survival. David Neale added ‘I think everyone should sign the ban tiger trade petition to help put an end to the slaughter of tigers’.

Despite China’s promise to enforce the ban on tiger products ‘tiger farms’ continue to thrive. In 2007 a group of foreign NGOs were invited to see conditions at a tiger park in China. The gruesome images that came from the visit have yet to effect any great change in the way that China treats its tigers. The tiger farms vary, with some being run as zoos and wildlife parks and others being used for ‘scientific research’ in which the animals are forced to ‘speed-breed’.

“We should be ashamed that we allow anyone on this planet to treat animals in this way,” says David Shepherd who has campaigned to save endangered species for almost 30 years. “A conservationist once told me that there are no animal rights, only human wrongs but TigerTime aims to change that by bringing the plight of these amazing animals to the attention of the world and ending this cruelty.”

Source, photos and credits to : Animals Asia – Belinda Wright

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