The recent celebration of the Lunar New Year welcomes the brand new year of the dog. We have seen Lo Hei dishes designed into a dog’s face, pineapple tarts made to look like a cute puppy’s head, but the most infamous celebratory event of all would be “the first and only dog circus from China” – the Chinese New Year Dog Circus.
The circus sparked off a controversy the day it started ticket sales last December. A petition was started by a Singaporean, Ms Summer Ong, who actively opposed to the idea of this circus taking place as she felt it promoted animal cruelty. One act that was supposed to be showcased was of poodles juggling circus props and performing acts such as ring stunts, acrobatics and many more. Ms Ong felt that such acts were “severely archaic, cruel and unethical”, and she expressed her deep disappointment towards Sistic and Resorts World Sentosa for allowing such shows to be put up in Singapore when they should be promoting an animal-friendly society. Her petition garnered a total of 7236 signatures in the short span of a day. Needless to say, this episode started debates between netizens on whether such performances were considered abuse, with the majority supporting Ms Ong’s stand. In response to this unexpected backlash, organizers stopped ticket sales and cancelled the show.
I feel that Ms Ong’s point on how animal cruelty should not be tolerated stands true. However, I feel that it is important for us to consider and understand the context as to whether the animals were brutally forced to perform as well. The topic of ethics brought up in this news highlights how there are always two different point of views, none of which are wrong. If the dogs are well-fed, does this mean that the dogs have been tortured because they are involved in the performances? Thus, I believe that all in all, it is best to leave animals alone in their natural habitats. This would not only prevent such controversies from surfacing in the future, but it will most importantly, show our basic respect to another living being.
- Image from: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/dog-circus-show-from-china-to-be-staged-at-rws-in-february-cancelled-after-flak-online