A new proposal from the Chinese State Forestry Administration has come under fire from animal ethicists, veterinarians, and animal welfare activists, who claim it will make it legal and easier for cruel industries like circuses and pharmaceuticals to exploit animals.
The proposal claims it will "better manage" these industries by legalizing and regulating two new "uses" for wild animals: in circuses, and in the undefined "production and business" sectors. According to the New York Times, the actual explanation is more sinister:
The Chinese government is under growing pressure from major traditional Chinese medicine companies to increase the number of bears kept in farms where their bile is extracted as a pharmaceutical ingredient.
Article 1 of the proposed regulations states that they aim "to protect, develop and reasonably use the resource of wild animals, strengthen the domestication and breeding of wild animals, and protect the legal rights of people and firms domesticating and breeding wild animals."
Protestors say this is an attempt to legalize and reap money from practices usually regarded as cruel. The law contradicts some current wild animal protection laws, and is being protested stridently by many in China. (Source: New York Times)