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China tells zoos to improve animal care

Associated Press / October 28, 2010

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BEIJING — China has urged zoos to stop serving wild animal products and holding wildlife performances, in an attempt to improve the treatment of tigers, bears, and other animals amid concerns over widespread abuse.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development posted the suggestions on its website Tuesday and said inspections would be carried out.

Animal welfare groups have documented widespread abuse in Chinese zoos and wildlife parks, including animal neglect, beatings, and the illegal sale of wine or soup made from the bones of endangered tigers.

Earlier this year, 11 rare Siberian tigers died at a wildlife park in China’s frigid northeast, and zookeepers there said they didn’t have enough funding to feed or take care of them properly. Rights groups said the zoo might have been selling the tiger skins and bones on the black market.

Officials did not say if the new guidelines would eventually be made permanent.

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