Do Chinese Dogs Have Rights?
Locals meet with their pet dogs at a Beijing park, May 2006. A controversial mass slaughter of dogs in China may not be necessary with recent incidents of rabies no cause for alarm.(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)
There is some good news coming out of China for dog lovers. Many Chinese dog lovers are speaking out and fighting against the recent extermination (some like myself would say murder) of over 50,000 dogs in one Chinese county. It may be that the deaths of these dogs may inspire major change.
The New York Times ran an article “A Chinese Outcry: Doesnt a Dog Have Rights?” I would normally run the entire article but there are some upsetting facts and quotes so if you want to read the rest of the article I would recommend that you check the article out fairly quickly as the Times does not keep their articles available online for much longer than a day or so without an extra fee.
But the exciting part of the article is this:
As remarkable as the killings themselves, however, has been the response. With its rising prosperity, China is developing a pet-owning culture, with dogs standing out as a particular favorite. As word of the killings has spread here, pet owners have begun to mobilize speaking out online and circulating petitions to try to stop the killings.
In fact, discussion of the issue has surpassed the bounds of a simple conversation about pets rights, with many commentators sharply questioning a system that could order the mass extermination of dogs, whether or not they are licensed and vaccinated. The reaction of groups and individuals, often through the Internet, also provides a striking illustration of the emergence of true public opinion in China, unmediated by the official press or censors.
This is just another stupid decision by several foolish officials taken in a small room, totally unreflective of the peoples will,” said a comment on Mop, a current affairs forum.
Some drew comparisons with Chinas human rights situation. We dont have human rights, let alone dog rights,” wrote a commentator going by the name of Kui Kui Xiang Ri, on the Tianya forum. Ive seen too much live abuse, let alone abuse of dogs. Anyway, its the local emperors who have their say, and we ordinary folks are not much different from dogs in their eyes.”
Chinese humane societies have announced plans to file lawsuits against local governments that mount extermination campaigns. This kind of thing is just too terrible, too inhumane,” said Huang Juan, a leader of the Abandoned Pets Assistance Center, in Wuhan. They did it without any real reason, since many of these dogs are vaccinated and cannot spread rabies. But how can you speak reason with these people?”
Another group, the China Small Animal Protection Association, said it would sue. We are meeting with lawyers the day after tomorrow, and will go to court and bring charges against two local governments,” said Lu Di, the groups director. I will not just try to persuade, warn or criticize them its too late for that. We will sue them to make them understand that this is not merely a moral issue, but a crime.”
On Wednesday, the Humane Society of the United States offered $100,000 to China to establish a program to control rabies in Jining, The Associated Press reported.
More broadly, others pointed out that the extermination campaigns contradict the guiding ideology of Chinas current leaders, who constantly invoke the need to build a harmonious society.”
I only hope that their actions can stop future mass dog murders.
I know I’ll be watching this situation closely, and hopefully.