My recent post about the tragic loss of Bug certainly prompted some strong responses but, as one respondent commented, animal abusers are everywhere — just as there are so many dedicated people giving our four-legged best friends a voice.
While demonstrations are clearly not encouraged in China, animal welfare groups here are nevertheless peacefully calling for change, as this picture from Humane Society International demonstrates today.
The focus of these groups lays emphasis on social harmony — that, as a result of dog thefts, social harmony is being disrupted at every level by those laughing in the face of the law.
The dog and cat meat industry is now being recognized by so many for what it is — a dirty, black industry full of theft and deceit — making it also dangerous for those who consume this stolen meat.
Our own advertisements make the point that these animals are stolen from loving family homes — an act causing devastation for those families. With many of the dogs poisoned with cyanide and other toxic substances, and with strays taken from the streets suffering a multitude of disease, public health is clearly a serious issue too.
The conferences that we hold each year in China, together with the authorities and the leaders of 150 groups, show constructive collaboration and meetings of intelligent minds. The theme of our Companion Animal Conference this May 2015 was rabies — one of the most preventable diseases of the 21st century, and yet occurring in 150 countries worldwide.
With over 2,000 deaths on average, reported each year in China, it is the country with the second highest incidence of reported rabies cases in the world. However, government awareness and commitment to eradicating this disease is high, and China is the largest administrator of rabies vaccinations anywhere in the world — with a remit of ending rabies by 2025.
Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade
This is why Animals Asia believes that the dog meat industry must not be regulated, but banned. If regulated, the dogs would still obviously be stolen from homes and from the streets — including those with rabies and other diseases — and absorbed into a seemingly legitimised operation.
The cruelty would also continue, but behind closed doors. Our brave Cat and Dog Welfare team have seen enough terrified dogs meeting their fate in these dreadful places to last a lifetime, and we categorically agree with the past statement from the Hong Kong Agriculture and Fisheries Department that it is not possible to farm and slaughter dogs humanely for food.
Finally, to legalize the industry not only damages China’s image both locally and internationally, but undermines the regions in Asia that have already banned the consumption of dogs and cats, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand — AND undermines the groups across China who have been calling for a ban on the industry for years.
These people standing up for cats and dogs today are incredibly brave. They face the dog traders at “festivals” such as the recent Dog and Lychee Festival in Yulin, and also the drivers of trucks transporting millions of stolen dogs across the country, challenging them to produce the required transport and quarantine licenses. Naturally, the majority of the traders have no such license, and are then obliged to hand over their stolen “livestock” to the authorities, who stand side-by-side with the groups, ensuring dogs are released into their care.
This is why it is wrong to write off a whole country as being egregiously cruel. Animals Asia won’t accept sweeping negative generalizations and, until all countries have blemish-free animal rights records, there is no high ground.
Instead, we will continue to celebrate the progress — that in itself will prompt others to join and support the victories we continue to see.
The truth is, were it not for the work of the local Chinese NGO’s and the developing support of government departments everywhere, so many animals would be so much worse off.
China’s history shows great benevolence towards animals throughout various dynasties, and the modern-day animal welfare movement in China continues to grow rapidly. The majority of Chinese citizens do not eat dog and cat meat, abhor the very idea of doing so and support those who actively seek to end it.
Animals Asia is proud to stand together with millions of people here today working hard to reclaim and restore the respect all creatures deserve.