In what’s being called “an important project of China-US cultural exchanges,” (and probably an attempt to make use of the empty Bird’s Nest), an eight-day rodeo event featuring everything from professional bull riders to imported “athletic animals” will be held in Beijing this October. However, 68 Chinese animal rights groups refuse to keep their feelings on the issue silent (even though Deng Xiaoping loved himself a good rodeo back in the day).
Chinese animal organizations are claiming the rodeo will have a negative impact, sending a message to children that animals are only available for human use (obviously they’ve heard the Earthlings gospel). ‘We don’t want this junk culture entered into China,’ said one unnamed activist.
Maybe they’re tapping into the zeitgeist. Just last week, pictures of middle schoolers torturing pigs caused an internet uproar among the Chinese netizenry (take caution, it’s pretty graphic), despite China’s famed love of pork.
For a country famous for its high meat consumption and acceptance of habitual disregard for the well-being of animals (turn your VPN on and search “tiger zoos of Harbin”), Chinese animal rights groups have been making a racket lately. In April, 500 dogs being shipped for slaughter in Northeastern China were saved, and now protests are being launched against a high-profile official event. These activists are picking up speed and they don’t show any signs of letting up.
Despite the ruckus over the Beijing rodeo, a spokesman for Rodeo China provided a rational argument in defense of the event: “Each of these bulls costs between $10,000 and $50,000 to rear and train. Why would we want to hurt them?” Insisting that the Chinese should be more open-minded to a different culture, he confirmed that the show will go on.
And so is this a moment of honest cultural exchange, or should a different aspect of American culture been chosen for the Bird’s Nest? Monster trucks, anyone?
By Fotini Gan