CHINA MASSACRES 50,000 DOGS

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CHINA MASSACRES 50,000 DOGS

 user 2006-08-02 at 11:05:00 am Views: 41
  • #16331

    China Massacres 50,000 Dogs in Anti-Rabies Campaign
    Dogs Being Walked Seized From Their Owners and Beaten to Death on the Spot
    SHANGHAI,
    China (Aug. 06) – China slaughtered 50,000 dogs in a government-ordered
    crackdown after three people died of rabies, sparking unusually pointed
    criticism in state media Tuesday and an outcry from animal rights
    activists.  Officials throw a dog they clubbed to death on the street
    into a collection truck in southwest China’s Yunnan province on
    Saturday.Health experts said the brutal policy pointed to deep
    weaknesses in the health care infrastructure in China, where only 3
    percent of dogs are vaccinated against rabies and more than 2,000
    people die of the disease each year.  The five-day slaughter in Mouding
    county in Yunnan province in southwestern China ended Sunday and spared
    only military guard dogs and police canine units, state media
    reported.  Dogs being walked were seized from their owners and beaten
    to death on the spot, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported. Led by the
    county police chief, killing teams entered villages at night creating
    noise to get dogs barking, then beat the animals to death, the reports
    said.  Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their own dogs
    before the teams were sent in, they said.  The killings were widely
    discussed on the Internet, with both legal scholars and animal rights
    activists criticizing them as crude and cold-blooded. The World Health
    Organization said more emphasis needed to be placed on rabies
    prevention.  The official newspaper Legal Daily blasted the killings as
    an “extraordinarily crude, cold-blooded and lazy way for the government
    to deal with epidemic disease.”  “Wiping out the dogs shows these
    government officials didn’t do their jobs right in protecting people
    from rabies in the first place,” the newspaper, published by the
    central government’s Politics and Law Committee, said in an editorial
    in its online edition.  In an editorial, the official Xinhua News
    Agency said the killings wouldn’t have been necessary if the local
    government had been more attentive, but called the slaughter “the only
    way out of a bad situation.”"If they’d discovered this earlier, they
    could have vaccinated the dogs and … controlled the outbreak,” the
    editorial said.  The killings prompted calls for a boycott of Chinese
    products from the activist group People For the Ethical Treatment of
    Animals.  “We are urging everyone to actively boycott – not a word we
    use lightly – anything from China given the bludgeoning killing of
    thousands of dogs,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said.  She said the
    group had canceled all orders of merchandise it sells that are made in
    China. Will Wright, at PETA’s European office in London, said the
    orders were worth about $300,000.  “We believe other groups will join
    us in expressing outrage over the blatant cruelty to animals the world
    is witnessing,” Wright said.  Mouding County officials defended the
    slaughter in a region where about 360 of the 200,000 residents suffered
    dog bites this year, with three people reportedly dying of rabies,
    including a 4-year-old girl.  “With the aim to keep this horrible
    disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs,” Li Haibo, a
    spokesman for the county government, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. 
    Calls to county government offices went unanswered Tuesday. Located in
    mountains about 1,240 miles southwest of Shanghai, Mouding is famed for
    its Buddhist shrines.  Unlike in the West, where dogs have long been
    cherished as companions or helpmates, dogs have rarely had an easy time
    in China. Dog meat is eaten throughout the country, revered as a tonic
    in winter and a restorer of virility in men.  Following the communist
    seizure of power in 1949, dog ownership was condemned as a bourgeois
    affectation and canines were hunted as pests. Attitudes have softened
    in recent years, although urban Chinese are still subject to strict
    rules on the size of their pets and must pay steep registration fees. 
    About 70 percent of rural households now keep dogs, according to the
    Chinese Center of Disease Control and Prevention, and increased rates
    of dog ownership have been tied to a surge in the number of rabies
    cases in recent years. It said there were 2,651 reported deaths from
    the disease in 2004, the last year for which data was available. 
    Access to rabies treatment is also highly limited, especially in the
    countryside, said Dr. Francette Dusan, a World Health Organization
    expert.  Effective rabies control requires coordinated efforts between
    human health, animal health and municipal agencies and authorities,
    Dusan said.  “This has not been pursued adequately to date in China,
    with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls,” she
    said.