Monday, February 26, 2007

Tourists buy live animals.. to throw to tigers

This is just despicable - reading it turned my stomach . . . EYES rolling and squealing with fear, the cow is forced from the back of a moving pick-up truck into the dirt. There is an explosion of dust, blood and flashing cameras as an ambush of tigers moves in for the kill, tearing great strips off the animal's back as it struggles for a second, then goes still, bar the odd twitch. A minute later there is little left of the ton-weight heifer except a scrap of skin, a mess of bones and a puddle of blood. But this is not some wild savannah. Welcome instead to China's latest tourist craze - paying up to £120 a time to feed live animals to ravenous Siberian tigers. From four packed buses goggle-eyed tourists shoot roll after roll of film, and even clap. One Westerner waves a roll of notes at the tour guide, excitedly gesturing at the bizarre menu pinned to the wall. . . . [ pictures ] Last year, Wang Wei, of China's Wildlife Conservation Department, promised to "put an end to shows of feeding beasts of prey with live animals". But, today, it is still very much business as usual.