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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Beijing ditches bullfighting plans
Spanish bullfight
Reports said the bullring would host Spanish-style fights
The Chinese capital Beijing is scrapping plans to stage bullfights after protests from animal rights campaigners.

The first fight was due to take place on 1 May in a new 6,400-seat bullring in the city's Wild Animal Park, described as the biggest in Asia.

News reports said that the plan had been to stage full Spanish-style fights which result in the death of the animal.

Members of the Beijing City Council complained and, according to China Radio International, said that the fights would be cruel and had "the potential to tarnish Beijing's and China's image."

One official said that in the run-up to Beijing hosting the 2008 Olympics, it should display civilisation not cruelty to animals.

Project investors said that the plan had never been to stage Spanish-style fights, but US-style rodeos.

However this was contradicted by the park's official website which has been advertising "Spain bullfight field of Beijing."

Animal welfare campaigners said even US-style rodeos should be avoided because calves could be hurt.

It is thought the bullring will now be used for tame animal performances and circuses.

The issue of animal rights does not often feature prominently in China where animal welfare campaigns are in their infancy.

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