Vietnamese Bears Can Finally Enjoy Retirement As Circus Makes Crucial Changes
Warning: Distressing Content
Circus bears in Vietnam will finally be able to retire after animal welfare groups have spent years campaigning for the freedom of the animals.
Vietnam’s Hanoi Central Circus made a historic step yesterday, June 16, as it handed over four bears to Animals Asia. The animal rights group had been campaigning for the release of bears from circuses in Vietnam since 2014.
The voluntary release of the bears is said to be reflective of changing attitudes in Vietnam. In 2017, Animals Asia released a report on the impact of circus acts on live animals, and in response, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture encouraged shows to phase out using animals.
The four bears who have been released will now be reunited with Sugar and Spice who were freed from the Hanoi Circus in 2019.
Speaking about their new life, Heidi Quine, Bear and Vet Team Director at Vietnam sanctuary said:
For the first time in years these four beautiful bears will have access to wide, open spaces and feel lush, fresh grass beneath their paws.
They will enjoy the freedom to decide what they do and when. They will be able to express natural behaviours like climbing, foraging for food, digging in the dirt and playing with their new friends. Never again will they be forced to wear a muzzle or perform tricks for entertainment.
The bears will now have diets designed to get them strong and healthy so they can navigate the sanctuary.
You can see more about the rescue and retirement of the bears below. Warning, contains distressing imagery:
It is hoped that this is another positive step in getting all bears out of circus acts, while also reflecting a radical shift in attitudes in Vietnam.
Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director, detailed the current situation:
Attitudes in Vietnam are changing. Schools are starting to refuse to attend circuses that use wild animals and over 32,000 Vietnamese people have signed our petition to end the use of wild animals in entertainment.
This is a direct result of our tenacious yet collaborative approach to working with authorities and communities. As we have seen time and time again, the only cure for so many of the things we want to change in the world, is kindness
Animals Asia will now continue to work towards ensuring more animals will see freedom in sanctuaries. Dave Neale, Captive Animal Welfare Director, said Animals Asia will continue to work with Hanoi Central Circus as they endeavour ‘to bring an end to all wild animal performances.’
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