Photo credit: Facts and Details
Chinese pet lovers are particularly outraged by dog culls, when government authorities round up and kill thousands of dogs in what they say is an effort to stem the spread of rabies. The culls usually require the execution of every dog in an area, including pets.
“In August 2006, authorities called for a massive slaughter of dogs to stem an outbreak of rabies in the eastern city of Jining. Officials there ordered that all dogs found within a five kilometer radius of an area where rabies was found must be killed. A few days later 50,0000 dogs were killed in similar effort in Yunnan Province. Many of the dogs were clubbed to death in front of their owners.” According to a government official, clubbing had been chosen as the method of execution “because it was the most practical.”
During the cull, some dogs “were rooted out at night by making noises to get them barking. Only military and police dogs were [spared]. Sixteen people had died from rabies over eight months n the Jining area.”
Culls have “outraged” many Chinese. ”Internet chat lines were filled with chatter on the topic. Pet lovers launched petitions demanding that the killing be stopped. Humane societies filed law suits against the government for demanding the deaths of animals that had been vaccinated against rabies.”
“Periodic dog culls in rabies-hit areas have not stopped its spread” but have spurred many Chinese to action. “The far northeastern town of Heihe was forced…after public outcry to reverse its plan to kill every dog in the city, instead allowing each family to keep one small dog.”
Many areas have adopted this rule in imitation of the one-child rule, and dog owners have reacted with similar vehemence against it. “These dogs are like family. How can you keep one and get rid of the others?” said Mrs Chen, a middle-aged housewife from Guangzhou. Mrs Chen is the owner of two dogs – a Pekingese mix and a terrier mutt – and would not give her full name because she feared that she might be traced by authorities who would then take one of her dogs.
As more people come to know and love dogs and cats, opposition to eating them will grow. But until that time comes, countless more animals will be killed, and more people will die of an easily preventable disease.
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