Animal cruelty on Japanese TV

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    The infamous clip of a bear cub being tormented for amusement on Korean TV network SBS’s “Animal Farm” was shown on FTV this week, so that a studio audience of Japanese celebrities could laugh at the animal writhing in mortal fear:

    There are a few expressions of pity for the bear, but it’s mostly laughs from the audience. The bear’s experience is presented as an opportunity for him to “learn” how to be strong. At the end of the clip, we can see the results of one month of “training”: the bear is now able to torment the monkey that it once feared.

    According to a post over at Korea blog ZenKimchi, a representative of MoonBears.org reported that the South Korean zoo apologized for ethical violations (a fact conveniently left out of FTV’s broadcast):

    Dear All,

    I am MD of an organization aimed at preserving bear welfare in South Korea, and I have the privilege of acting as the contact point between SBS, Samsung Everland (the zoo), and WAZA, who regulates zoos worldwide. It is noteworthy that this zoo is a WAZA member. This clip has been acknowledged as disgraceful by the zoo, who admits that the behavior displayed in the clip is unprofessional, unethical and in poor taste. As the zoo is in violation of several WAZA codes of ethics, an inquiry was sent and the zoo responded with an apology. We are requesting a formal written stance be posted on the website of the zoo. For those who see this as ‘educational’: This is a zoo. There is no ecological situation in which a bear and a lion co-exist, and animals in captivity are required (by law), to be treated in a manner that mimics nature. No, there is no relevant training occurring, and assigning a human, emotional characteristic to an animal for the sake of entertainment is both ridiculous and ignorant. We find the zookeeper to be unqualified and we regret the positive reception of the clip in South Korea.

    As someone who has the luxury of understanding the Hangul and the context, it saddens me that trained professionals would make such poor decisions.

    The Show’s creators are still profiting by re-selling the segment, and FTV is apparently happy to pay them for it.

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