16 October 2015

Broken Cats

Written by Published in Nature
Broken Cats ©Broken cats, Winner 2015 The Wildlife Photojournalist Award by Britta Jaschinski

There are many who campaign to see zoos around the world close for ever. But who can show us the silent suffering their unwilling occupants endure? The 2015 Wildlife Photojournalist Award Winner Britta Jaschinski has made this her life's work

imagesLocked into obedience by their trainers’ gaze, big cats perform at the Seven Star Park in Guilin, China. They have had their teeth and claws pulled out, and when not in the arena, they live in the tiny cages visible behind the stage. At least one (centre) is a captive-bred hybrid – part lion, part tiger.

In 2010, the Chinese authorities issued a directive to zoos and animal parks to stop performances that involve wild animals. But this is not legally binding, and in many facilities across the country, it is still business as usual, with shows attracting audiences unaware of the scale of the abuse, neglect and cruelty involved.

For the past 20 years, Britta has travelled extensively, documenting the world of animals in captivity and their unnecessary suffering in the name of education and entertainment. But never, she says, has she come across ‘such brutal and systematic deprivation’ as in China. ‘The potential for change is huge,’ she maintains. ‘Despite government control of the internet, social-media messages do get through and can make a difference. Attitudes are changing.’

Get a copy of Sublime Issue 19 with an exclusive 14 page photo feature and interview with Britta Jaschinski by Stephen Armstong.


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