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China Mulls First Animal Protection Law

BEIJING — At a wildlife park outside Beijing a dozen lions battle over a live chicken thrown into their enclosure by a tourist -- who has paid four dollars for the privilege.

A siren wails and three four-wheel-drive vehicles race into action, screeching to a halt just shy of the animals to separate them and restore harmony to the caged pride -- until the next feeding.
"Animals in most of the nation's zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums are a serious concern," said Peter Li, a China specialist for Humane Society International, a US-based animal group.

Li, who this month took part in the first zoo directors' workshop in Beijing aimed at addressing problems in China, added that most zoos were "decades behind the more progressive standards of zoos in industrialised nations."

China has been plagued by a series of scandals that has thrown the spotlight on poor conditions in many of the nation's wildlife parks.

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