When will we start putting welfare before wealth and end the practice of displaying live animals in malls, restaurants and other unnatural, prison-like environments as a way to attract shoppers?
One of the latest to join the "exploit animals for profit" club is the aquarium at the Grandview Mall, in Guangzhou, which opened last month. Spanning 58,000 square metres over two floors, it bills itself as the "world's largest indoor above-ground polar marine world". But these figures are the biggest worry: 500 species on display, including 30,000 marine animals. Among this sad menagerie are two polar bears, six beluga whales, five walrus calves and two Arctic wolves. Penguins, tropical fish and a whale shark are also slowly going mad as curious shoppers gawp.
Images of the animals in small enclosures, some showing signs of distress - for example, bears and wolves scratching at the doors of their prisons, which have been painted Arctic blue in a pathetic attempt to recreate their natural environment - caused an online storm when a WeChat post about the sad situation went viral. Animal rights groups say the small enclosures will harm the animals' mental and physical well-being.
Wild animals should be left in the wild - not trapped in a mall next to shops selling luxury goods. Those who agree should boycott any place that uses animals as a sales gimmick. Shopping at these places only rewards animal cruelty.
The abusers behind this aquarium should take a green leaf out of Chengdu Paradise Walk's book. Instead of being shown live animals, shoppers at this progressive mall are taught about China's wild animals.
Now that's what I call a shoppers' paradise.