BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of the death of 13 captive Siberian tigers in a northeast China zoo, legal experts have made an online proposal for a "law against animal abuse" to solicit opinions.
The proposal, posted online Wednesday, would be revised after the experts considered the public responses. It would then be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in April, said Chang Jiwen with the Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who participated in the draft of the proposal.
A total of 13 Siberian tigers have died over a span of three months in Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo, including 11 that died of malnutrition and two shot dead while mauling a zoo worker in November 2009, said Liu Xiaoqiang, vice chief of the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station.
"What happened at the zoo was not an isolated case. There are multiple cases of hungry zoo animals mauling people. And our survey shows that many privately-owned zoos were not doing well financially," said Chang.
As for regulating the privately-owned zoos, there were legal loopholes which made enforcement impossible, said Liu.
The Law on Protection of Wildlife does not provide for any punishment for irresponsible zoo owners who abuse the animals.
In addition, the Property Law stipulates that zoo owners have the right to keep animals and animal protection authorities have no right to interfere, said Liu.
The proposal aims to fill the legal void so to prevent future tiger tragedies and stop cruelty to animals.