In an egregious act of animal cruelty, a city in China has opted to kill 36,000 stray and pet dogs. The motivation behind the killings was the elimination of rabies but even so, such an act would never have occurred in a country that recognizes the rights of animals.
The raising of dogs was banned under the rule of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong and considered a bourgeois pastime. It was made legal just a few years ago as living standards rose. Unfortunately, the incidence of rabies has also been on the rise and at least twelve people have died in the northern province of Shaanxi, and more than 6,000 people had been bitten or scratched in the last month.
“The monitoring data showed that the danger caused by the dogs which carried rabies virus has increased and epidemic prevention and control is urgent,” claims Xing Tianhu, deputy mayor of the city.
Although rabies is a real concern, animal protection groups have no sympathy for China where millions of animals are killed randomly for their pelts and both cats and dogs are mistreated and inhumanely euthanized. The abuse will only stop when legislation forces its hand, and it is to China’s credit that the very first law to recognize animal welfare is in the drafting stage. It is believed that as the law changes, the killings will stop.
The irony of the justification for the mass murder of these animals has not escaped authorities.
“The mass removal of dogs can result in the increased movement of dogs of unknown disease status from surrounding areas, thereby actually facilitating disease transmission and increasing the threat to human and animal health,” claims Peter Williams, China director for the World Society for Protection of Animals.
Mahatmas Ghandi once said that a country’s moral code is discerned by the way it treats its animals.
If this is so, China gets a failing grade.