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Chained circus elephant image seen across Vietnam

A stark image of a circus elephant in chains is being seen across Vietnam with the tagline: "Fun for you – nightmare for me".

It's the winning image in a competition, run by Animals Asia that has received entries from young people of all abilities – wanting to take part in the campaign to end animal performance.

The awards ceremony at Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre saw Chairman of the Vietnam Animal Association, Professor Dang Huy Huynh present the final winner, Duong Doan Anh Minh's chained elephant image.

Duong Doan Anh Minh said:

"In the past when I saw circus performances I used to admire the trainers but I didn't know what the life of the animals in the circus was like. After that I found out about teaching with floggings, whips and chains. I don't want my children or their children to continue witnessing this. I want future generations to love and respect animals."

Around 20 journalists made the 60-kilometre journey from Hanoi to Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Center to see the images and meet the winner.

The competition and its animal welfare message was subsequently published on the Vietnamese government's official internet portal, VGP News as well as via national newspapers and TV stations.

Animals Asia's Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

"We were delighted with the sheer quality of images we received. Entries came from all over the country and the youngest entrant was only eight years old, which bodes very well for the future.

"It just shows that people here are becoming much more aware of animal welfare issues and that practices which were commonplace just a short time ago, are quickly becoming unacceptable.

"The strong media coverage, particularly from government sources and popular newspapers is very welcome, and shows unity behind the message."

Animal performance is still common in Vietnam's capital with moon bears among the captive animals appearing regularly at Hanoi Circus.