SISTIC pulls dog circus from ticket site following PR storm on animal cruelty

SISTIC Singapore has cancelled a dog circus show titled "Chinese New Year Dog Circus" slated to run in February next year at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), a day after drawing flak from netizens. HE Productions is also involved in the event.

According to multiple media reports including The Straits Times (ST) and TODAY, the show features poodles performing stunts and was scheduled to be held during the upcoming Lunar New Year, which will welcome the Year of the Dog. When contacted by Marketing, a SISTIC spokesperson did not have additional comments. .

SISTIC first promoted the China-based dog circus on its Facebook page on 8 December 2017. A quick check by Marketing found that the event page had been removed. ST reported that the "Chinese New Year Dog Circus" was promoted as "the first and only dog circus from China", and had three shows each scheduled for 16 and 17 February 2018. The post copped flak from netizens, enraged that SISTIC was supporting animal cruelty.

Following SISTIC's Facebook post, a netizen named Summer Ong launched an online petition, calling for SISTIC, RWS and HE Productions to ban the show. The petition accumulated 7,236 signatures and called the use of animals for entertainment, especially in a circus, "severely archaic, cruel, and unethical". Ong added that it was "outrageously appalling and extremely disappointing" to witness first-hand RWS bringing in an animal performance act and promoting animal cruelty.

In response, SISTIC has since edited its original Facebook post stating that the Chinese New Year Dog Circus 2018 show has been cancelled as of 9 December 2017. It added that it has stopped ticket sales and removed the event page from its website. It also posted a follow up comment on the post's comment thread to inform netizens on the updates, which has since garnered 304 reactions at the time of writing. The move was lauded by netizens, many praising SISTIC for listening to their concerns.

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Meanwhile, TODAY reported that HE Productions confirmed the show will still carry on without the segment involving the poodles. Harry Yap, who is the executive director at HE Productions, according to his LinkedIn, said it has temporarily removed the event listing from SISTIC and will "replan [the] show. Yap added that HE Productions will hold discussions with the performers in China and "let the public understand that the dogs were not ill-treated".

Marketing has reached out to RWS and HE Productions for comment