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Chinese City Will Euthanize Tens of Thousands of Pet Dogs

Chinese City Will Euthanize Tens of Thousands of Pet Dogs


The city of Jiangmen, in China’s Guangdong province, is dealing with an increase in rabies cases by banning residents in certain parts of the city from keeping dogs.  Citing 42 rabies deaths in the past 3 years, Jiangmen will only allow dogs to be kept in the city’s most densely populated areas by people who have been granted licenses.  These licenses will only, according to the China Daily, be given to people who need security for warehouses or businesses.

What will happen to the estimated 30,000 dogs that are currently being kept as pets in Jiangmen?  Residents have been given the opportunity to take their pets to drop-off sites starting next week, where they will either be adopted by rural families (sounds like the old excuse, “the dog just went to a farm upstate”) or euthanized.  After August 26, city officials will begin catching and putting down any dogs that they find in public.

“Our aim is not to kill all the dogs in the city’s urban areas, but we hope to create a better environment for the city by banning the keeping of dogs,” said one police officer.

Experts say that this move will have very little effect on the rabies problem in China, which is admittedly serious.  A 2009 report claimed that of China’s 75 million dogs, only a fifth had been vaccinated for rabies, an alarming statistic given that 40 million people were bitten by animals that year.  China follows only India in rabies-related deaths, so clearly this is a public health issue that needs to be dealt with.

Banning and euthanizing thousands of pet dogs, however, is not the solution.  In fact, according to many, vaccination is the only way to contain rabies.  ”Decades of research internationally have shown culling is absolutely ineffective in controlling rabies,” Dr Kati Loeffler, veterinary adviser for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in China, told the Guardian.  She added that vaccination and education were far better paths.

Others criticized the measure from an ethical perspective, saying that it was not humane to euthanize such a large number of animals, while still more questioned whether the new policy could be effectively enforced.  ”This [ban] is not scientific, not humane, and it will not last long. In short term, maybe it could be effective, but after that, people still want to keep dogs,” said Dr Tang Qing of China’s Center for Disease Control. “People won’t accept it and implementing it will be difficult – you can’t break down doors to seize and kill dogs.”

Certainly, it seems distinctly possible that pet owners will try to hide their dogs rather than allow them to be put down.  From a public health perspective, that doesn’t solve the problem; in fact, it de-incentivizes people from getting their dogs vaccinated because if they take them outside, they could be confiscated.

Leaving ethics aside, this is an unworkable, impractical plan.  But factor in the fact that we’re talking about killing thousands of people’s pets, and it makes even less sense.  Does the Chinese government really think that it can contain rabies by banning and euthanizing dogs?  A large-scale vaccination and education program would be more time-consuming, but according to Qing, it would actually be less expensive than the planned euthanizations.  And it would do far more to improve Chinese citizens’ safety, health, and general well-being.

Rabies is a serious problem in China, but the large-scale killing of dogs is not the solution.

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Photo from Nathan R. Yergler via Creative Commons Labs.

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12:02PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

another stupid plan I guess they never heard of rabies vaccine shots?

10:52AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Healthy dogs should not be put down!

6:26AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

Provide free rabies vaccinations and make it illegal to have a pet that is not vaccinated.

10:54AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Have the Chinese who seem to be so aware of money making scams ever heard of vaccination against rabies. I do think that they are out to rid the world of people (all the poisoned "stuff" that they are exporting to make a buck) and animals (eating cats and destroying dogs or eating them too.). And we deal with them????????. Shame on us (US)

12:26PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

I'm so sick and tired of the horrible mess we here about animal torture everyday. It's just unberable to think about the abuse that man causes to every living creature.

2:41PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

I just can't take anymore of animal cruelty situations for today. I swear I could be on the computer 24/7/365 and never run out of these horrific stories. What a f*@cked up world we live in!

1:27AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Marlene D. stop writing I beg you, my eyes hurt like hell!
Is not the WHOLE country. Please inform yourself and then make a comment.
By hating you don't gain anything, you can't condemn a whole country for things that they government make them do, and even the whole eaten cats and dogs is not in every part of china it's in some places so please stop writing crap and inform yourself.

About the subject rabies is a serious problem that affects EVERY ONE OF US the primary things to do are vaccination programs and education people!! by educating populations you can do amazing things.
But we have to keep in mind that china has a whole different set of problems in the government and in the laws, and change things, peoples minds, especially in one country where traditions are very if not the most important thing is extremely hard and then again you can't condemn a whole country for the acts of X percent of the population inform your self's and try to educate as much as possible.

1:09PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

this country is unbelievable ignorance, crueltiness they have all. but they can have childres like rabits. i wonder why they do not kill themself better in intead of kill the inocent animals. i hate them and i do not buy nathing or eat nathing chinese. vaccination could be good, neutering also. another ways, but they do not want nathing good. just killthem and eat them. what a shame of this raza.

9:51AM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

Apart from the terrible cruelty; I see this as a competitive ethic.
Someday soon Chinese will be eating everything short of granny.....maybe her too.
There God is their belly.

11:59AM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."
-- Leonardo Da Vinci

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