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Old school circuses struggle to survive after animal ban

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-09 07:55

Old school circuses struggle to survive after animal ban

As the secretary-general of the Yongqiao Circus Association in Anhui province, Zhang Yongheng joked that he is constantly caught between the welfare of animals and human beings.

Seven years after the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a guideline that banned Stated-owned zoos from hosting circus performances featuring animals, Zhang and his association have yet to find a solution to revive the century-old business.

Before the guideline was issued, a circus troupe that featured animals could rake in millions of yuan a year by touring the country, according to the association. Most of the performances took place in zoos.

An investigation by the State Forestry Administration later found that 53 zoos across the country were guilty of animal abuse during circus acts. This led the central government to ban the use of animals in such performances.

"The number of circus troupes has dropped from 400 at its peak to around 280 today," said Zhang.

"It's not that people are less interested, but animal rights supporters have been really fighting hard against such performances," he added.

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