Wednesday, 23. July 2014
05. 12. 12. - 15:00
Horrific images of big cats kept in cramped cages and forced to perform for audiences are threatening China's thriving circus industry.
Amazingly, the grim big top snaps were taken after new animal welfare laws came into force across the county more than two years ago.
They show tigers and lions kept in rusty cages so small, the once-proud beasts cannot even stand up.
Often they are fed whatever scraps the performers can lay their hands on as they struggle to make a living.
This troupe - from Suzhou, Anhui province, eastern China - is considered well run by Chinese standards and is proud of living up to recent animal welfare regulations.
But even when they perform, they look frightened and desperate.
New laws in China allow big cats - which cost 10,000 GBP each to buy - to perform for audiences but they are banned from undertaking dangerous stunts like leaping through flaming hoops.
Owner Gu Yuanji claimed: "Our animals are very well cared for. Each one of then represents a huge investment of time and money - we wouldn't dream of hurting them. We love in harmony with our animals."
But one animal welfare expert said: "China's standards fall woefully short of most of the world. These animals look frightened and underfed."
"It's disgraceful putting such magnificent beasts through such agony for human beings to gawp at.
"Now even local people feel this isn't the way to treat wild animals and they are turning away from this sort of entertainment," they added.
Austrian Wine Grower Sets New Record For Maturing Grapes
An award-winning Austrian winegrower is believed to have set a new record after leaving harvested grapes for an incredible nine months before fermenting them to create an ultra-sweet white and red wine.
Austrian Castle Owner Shocked By Airplane Wheel In Duck Pond
An Austrian castle owner got a shock after discovering this massive aircraft wheel had landed in his duck pond.
Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party
Austrian gun maker Gaston Glock has celebrated his 85th birthday with a huge ceremony in which the charitable work of himself and his wife Kathrin was honoured with a top Austrian award, and confirmation that this year two streets and a business park are to be named after him.
Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched
Austrian police are hunting crooks who broke open a market stall and stole a 1.5 metre sausage worth over 2,000 EUR in the picture postcard village of St Michael in the region of Lungau.
Multi Coloured UFOs In Formation Over Austria
Austrian officials say they are baffled to explain a UFO sighting in which dozens of people reported seeing between 50 and 100 objects flying in formation.
Priests Furious After Porn Films Shot In Local Parish Church
A furious Austrian Catholic priest has complained to police after discovering a local woman had apparently been using his church as a studio to make porn films.
Two metre snake sends woman motorist fleeing
An Austrian motorist got a shock after noticing something hanging down from under her car – and realising it was a huge two metre snake that had ended up curled around the engine.
What is on at Haydn Kino this week? (10 July - 16 July)
The following films are on at the English language cinema Haydn Kino on Mariahilfestrasse between 10 July and 16 July...
Beekeeping is booming in Vienna
People living in Vienna have got a new hobby - beekeeping.
Queen of Englands favourite horses used as lawnmowers in Vienna
Horses from the famous Spanish Riding School are being used to help keep the grass down in city parks in Vienna.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Vintage Luxury Car Prepared For Prince Philip Rusts In Romanian Car Park|
|Society Girl Gave Adopted Kid Back A Day Later After Sleepless Night|
|Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched|
|Michael Schumacher Family In Talks With Micro Chip Docs|
|Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.