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The Heartbreaking Living Conditions Of Chinese Zoos

"It was always hard for me to not get depressed when visiting." Photographer Scott Brauer reports on the harrowing living conditions in China's popular zoos.

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Zoos within China are a popular outlet for leisure among many of its citizens. Unfortunately, the conditions in which many of the zoo animals are kept and treated are far from humane.

Which pushed photographer Scott Brauer to focus his camera upon these harrowing conditions in his poignant photo series "Small Concrete Boxes."

"China's zoos are beautiful places," Scott writes. "Miles of walking paths, lush gardens, imaginative topiary. But none of that is for the animals on display."

"At most of China's city zoos, the wild animals are forced to live within small concrete boxes and iron cages."

M. Scott Brauer

A father and child pour milk into the mouth of a Tibetan Bear in the zoo in Chongqing, China. The bear stood and turned in circles for the gathered crowd, many of whom threw junk food down into the enclosure.

"The animals sometimes have festering wounds and they're constantly harassed by zoo-goers."

"They're forced to perform, muzzled to have photos taken with visitors, and beaten when they don't act as they are supposed to."

M. Scott Brauer

A trained monkey wearing a cape balances on a basketball while being led on a leash by a zookeeper during a performance in the Kunming Zoo in Kunming, Yunnan, China.

M. Scott Brauer

Visitors hold small pieces of beef, purchased for about US$1.50, through a protective cage to feed to tigers at the Siberian Tiger Park in Haerbin, Heilongjiang, China.

The Siberian Tiger Park is described as a preserve to protect Siberian tigers from extinction through captive breeding. Visitors to the park can purchase live chickens and other meat to throw to the tigers.

"I've been to zoos in Tianjin, Beijing, Nanjing, Hefei, Kunming, Chongqing, Xi'an, Harbin, and elsewhere throughout the country," Scott goes on.

"It was always hard for me to not get depressed when visiting."

M. Scott Brauer is a photographer based in Boston. To view more of his work and additional captions from the series, "Small Concrete Boxes," check out his website at http://www.mscottbrauer.com/.

*And be sure to share your photo essays and ideas with our Photo Essay Editor at Gabriel.Sanchez@BuzzFeed.com

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