An animal protection organization has called on Vietnam’s authorities to impose a ban on wild-animal circus performances, and requested actions to be taken against a particular theme park in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Asia for Animal Coalition (AfA) is gravely concerned about wild animal abuse in circus performances for entertainment purposes throughout Vietnam, it said in a letter sent to Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien.
The AfA, citing a recent report by Animals Asia, another animal protection organization, said 19 different animal species were being used for circus performances in Vietnam, including those classified as endangered, as per the Southeast Asian country’s law.
Many captive animals belonging to Vietnamese circus troops lack verified origins, and they also have to bear shabby living conditions, ill-treatment during training and taming, which leads to unnatural behaviors in the state of extreme stress, according to the coalition.
On top of this, circus owners tend to have little or no contribution to raising public awareness of wildlife extinction or threats facing endangered species.
The AfA underlined in its letter that Vietnam's involment in the use of animals for recreational purposes will adversely affect the national image in the eyes of international friends, as it indicates the country’s inability to protect the populations of endangered wildlife and to keep them from being abused.
The coalition also particularly mentioned Dam Sen Cultural Park in Ho Chi Minh City in its petition, requesting a revision to be done into the use of animals such as bears, elephants and horses in circus performances at this popular venue.
The AfA also questioned about the public records of the origin of these creatures, suggesting that some animals are being illegally held captive and should be rescued and taken to animal protection centers.
The letter also includes a four-point action plan the AfA suggests the Vietnamese tourism ministry to adopt.
The recommended measures include prosecute circus facilities which make illegal use of wild animals for commercial purposes and ban all wildlife in circus performance where animals are forced to perform acts against their natural habitat.
The AfA also suggested the ministry to coordinate with government and non-government wildlife organizations to take all circus animals to reputable institutions, and give support to circus operators to transform into non-animal businesses.
The AfA is composed of 19 well-known and respected animal welfare organizations that have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia.
Founded in 1998, Animals Asia promotes compassion and respect for all animals and works to bring about long-term change.