Communications News: WSPA runs cinema ads in Japan to end bear parks cruelty

The World Society for the Protection of Animals hopes a cinema ad it is running in Japan, which shows the cruelty bears suffer in the country's entertainment bear parks, will create enough concern that the public will vote with their feet to end their existence.

The 30-second ad was shown before screenings of Disney's Brother Bear this month. It shows a mother explaining to her son why bears kept in small concrete pits exhibit abnormal behaviour.

The organisation, assisted by its Japanese member society, All Life in a Viable Environment, became the first NGO to screen cinema ads in Japan.

The ad is also being shown on a major Tokyo outdoor screen 24 times per day in April.

The society has spent the past 13 years campaigning to end the cruelty of bear parks and said one park had recently closed. Two more are considering their futures.

"This could be the beginning of the end for bear parks in Japan," said Dave Eastham, the society's campaigns officer. "By the end of next year, their number could be reduced from eight to five.

"We hope declining attendances will show them that bear parks are now a far less acceptable form of entertainment."

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