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Animal Rights Concerns Arise as Chinese Zoo Accused of Dyeing Dogs as Pandas

Chinese Zoo Faces Criticism for Dyeing Dogs to Look Like Pandas

A zoo in China has sparked controversy after accusations emerged that it attempted to deceive visitors by displaying a pair of dogs dyed black and white to resemble panda bears.

Videos circulating on Chinese social media platforms show the two “panda dogs” housed in an exhibit at Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu province, which opened on May 1. Despite the dogs being patterned to mimic pandas, close observation reveals their wagging tails, exposing their true identity.

Zoo officials defended their decision, stating that the animals were Chow Chows, a breed of fluffy dogs originating from northern China. They clarified that the dogs were painted black and white to resemble giant pandas, and they had transparently advertised them as “panda dogs” without making any false claims.

Animal Welfare Concerns Raised Over Chinese Zoo’s Panda-Dyed Dogs

The dogs remain on display at the zoo, with officials reporting that the number of visitors remained at a standard level. However, despite the zoo’s assertion that the dogs were not harmed, they faced criticism from state media and the public for misleading visitors and potentially mistreating the animals.

Critics raised concerns about the welfare of the dogs, emphasizing that dyeing Chow Chows could lead to skin diseases due to their fragile skin and naturally thick coats. Nevertheless, zoo officials compared dyeing the dogs’ hair to humans dyeing their own hair, asserting that it was harmless.

This incident is not the first time “panda dogs” have stirred debate in China. In 2019, a dog cafe in Sichuan province faced scrutiny for dyeing six Chow Chows to resemble pandas, raising animal rights concerns. Similarly, in 2020, a viral video showed a woman walking a dyed Chow Chow disguised as a panda in the same province.

Furthermore, other zoos in China have been accused of displaying fake animals, including dogs masquerading as wolves or African cats. Last year, a zoo in Zhejiang province denied allegations that its Malayan sun bears were actually humans dressed in disguise, debunking the claim with expert analysis and temperature considerations.

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