The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held an exhibit in Makati City, that showed a collection of bear images painted by some of the best Chinese artists and famous celebrities aiming to draw attention to the unbearable situations of bears in circuses.

Displayed at Local Edition were works of master Cui Zimo; Xiao Yong, the designer of the 2008 Beijing Olympic medals; Shu Qi, one of the highest-paid Chinese movie actors; Wu Xiubo, TV drama superstar; and Barbie Hsu from Meteor Garden. These slate of artists caught the attention of attendees, shedding light on the cruelty that bears endure in circuses. The artworks came directly from a gallery show in Beijing’s prestigious 798 Art Zone, and was sent to Los Angeles.

Difficult to bear

(Unsplash/Mark Basarab)

The bears endured different forms of abuse in China’s Suzhou circuses. According to PETA’s investigation, the bears were forced to do tricks, such as dancing with hula hoops, boxing, and playing trumpets. At a young age, bear cubs were strung up around their necks for long hours just so they could be trained to stand on their two hind legs.

Born to be wild, not kept captive

(Unsplash/Elizabeth Meyers)

In these circuses, the bears were routinely confined inside cages the size of dog kennels when not performing, depriving them of the opportunity to roam the way they normally would in the wild, while also keeping them from hibernating safely. This brings them psychological distress, arthritis, pressure sores, and other serious health issues.

No to circuses

PETA Vice President John Baker said, “Over 80 of China’s most caring artists, actors, and other stars have helped PETA by creating beautiful pieces highlighting the importance of protecting bears . . . This evocative exhibition celebrates the spirit of the bear and will send viewers in the Philippines a strong message: Don’t support circuses or other attractions that exploit animals, either here or abroad.”

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s August 2019 issue.

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