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Monday, June 8, 2009

Dog Massacre continues.. Hanzhong city Dog Scull

Dog Massacre continues.. Hanzhong city Dog Scull.. please help ! ....Following the previous blog which mentioned the appeal received from the Animal Rights activists in China, here is the update on the dog sculls in China, from Animals Asia Foundation. During the past months, there had been more than one dog scull that was to take place in various towns. Some china governement officials however stopped the dog scull in Heihe in response of the reactions from animal lovers though China.

From Jill's Blog : (Jill robinson, President of Animals Asia Foundation and World Animal Day Embassador China)

..Dogs beaten to death on Hanzhong city streets ....Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 08:23 PM
The sight of those wretched dogs trying to crawl away from the people bludgeoning them over the head was beyond words. More heartbreaking still was the scene where a dog was surrounded by men with poles and began to wag his tail in welcome - before screaming in agony as the poles and rods came down upon his body. Howling in terror, he tried to raise himself on already broken limbs as the blows came thick and fast and sent him crashing once more to the ground. Blood gathered in pools around his head before he was picked up by one of his back legs and dragged away. The pile of dead dogs grew - and people in the video laughed – satisfied with a job which had so cruelly stilled the beating hearts of our best friends.
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........................I watched the film in disbelief – thinking surely we were of a different species to those dreadful people so utterly disconnected to the agony of animals who feel pain and terror and a host of emotions so similar to ours. That life can be so dismissively snuffed out as if it held no importance in this world reflects so appallingly on a country and people I have grown to love.
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..Culling in China is back - in all its bloody glory - and we need your help to make a stronger push than ever before to drive it into the dark ages where it belongs. Local animal welfare groups in China are also appalled –and we are working closely with them in appeals to the authorities – united in our call that dogs deserve better.

Animals Asia is trying to raise funds to support these groups in their efforts to stop the cull and provide the Hanzhong city authorities with an alternative solution to dog population and disease control. (donation link below)

Local animal welfare groups rally to help Hanzhong city dogs

Image and video hosting by TinyPic..The pictures are not meant to shock, only to show what is happening in thee streets of Honzhong

........Several local animal welfare groups are sending representatives to Hanzhong to gather evidence on the cull and offer their help with alternative methods of dog control. Animals Asia is sponsoring their trip and we have also offered to provide the city with free rabies vaccinations, in support of their efforts to instigate change in future animal population management practices.

Ms.Jiang Hong, the founder of Xi'an Small Animals Rescue Center, Mr. Chen(陈明才)from Chongqing Small Animal Protection Association, Ms. Qin(秦肖娜)from Capital Animal Protection Association, Ms. Du(杜玉凤)from Sichuan Guangyuan Small Animal Association, will travel to Hanzhong with three media representatives and two volunteers. They will keep us up to date with what is happening on the ground and provide us and the Shaanxi Province government with a full report on their findings.

We will update this page with regular bulletins from Hanzhong as we receive them.

......Local government officials sanction mass slaughter to make Hanzhong a “dog-free” city

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....Almost immediately following news that the authorities in Heihe have agreed to suspend their previously announced dog cull, we now hear that the authorities in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province have commenced a cull there. While people in China and across the world are congratulating the Heihe authorities for their cancellation of the cull and proposed promotion of responsible dog ownership, the authorities in Hanzhong should be ashamed for their barbaric response to a rabies outbreak which does not even begin to address the problem at source.

....The decision to implement a cull is apparently based on the health and safety of the local population, but the reality is that this not an effective solution in stopping the spread of disease such as rabies. The vacuum which culls leave is very quickly filled by new stray animals with similar problems of those before. Responsible Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programmes allow desexed, vaccinated, microchipped and now healthier animals to remain in the area, where they will prevent new and potentially diseased animals from entering their territory, and where their population will gradually decrease. Further, culling is seen as a cruel and hastily implemented massacre which brings disgrace to the country in the eyes of the international community. The unnecessarily cruel method of slaughter – literally beating the dogs to death – is unconscionable and incompatible with any reasonable standard of animal welfare. ....In India, where rabies is widespread, a recent report by the Animal Welfare Board of India has shown the results of a study which compares two different methods of controlling this disease. Conclusive results from this study show that responsible “spay/neuter/vaccinate/release” programmes have reduced the incidence of rabies by a significant percentage. “Since 1996, instances of rabies in humans have reduced from 120 to five a year in Chennai” said Dr. K. Manivasan, Joint Commissioner (Health), Chennai Corporation.

....The study covered two periods; the first from 1980 to 1995 when the killing of dogs was implemented as the method of choice of rabies control, and the second period from 1996 to 2005 after the killing was replaced by spay/vaccinate and return programmes. The results showed a rapid distinct down trend of rabies after 1996 “and was further proof, if any were needed, that Animal Birth Control/Vaccination is the only sensible way to go to control the street dog population and rabies.”

....Similarly, Dr. Francette Dusan, a WHO expert on diseases passed from animals to people, said effective rabies control required coordinated efforts between human and animal health agencies and authorities. “This has not been pursued adequately to date in China with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls,” Dusan said. To access the WHO materials on rabies control please click here: Fact sheet 99, Dec 2008.
In this spirit of coordination, Animals Asia has also been funding Trap Neuter Release programmes for cats in China. Stray cats are collected by local welfare groups and animal lovers, and transported to clinics where they are desexed and vaccinated. Once they have recovered from their surgery, these more healthy animals are placed back into the original area from where they came and embraced and cared for by the community. Suddenly street cats become therapy cats and provide companionship for those who enjoy their presence such as the elderly and lonely.
The issue of licensing and vaccinating dogs must also be explored more effectively in China. The authorities of various provinces previously raised the license for pet owners to such an extent that people hid their dogs away rather than paying such extortionate fees. This in itself could have contributed to the rabies problem - particularly in rural areas - and potentially left these dogs vulnerable to the disease - especially if they were abandoned, escaped, or entered the live animal markets. Animals Asia often witnesses pedigree animals in these markets - which can be bought as pets or food.

....There is significant risk of rabies being found in the dogs caught up in the meat trade, where they are caged, transported and kept in the markets en-masse. Many are wounded as a result of inappropriate handling and the abuse they receive at the hands of the traders and the rabies virus can easily spread through bites or scratches or even from saliva entering open wounds. Indeed, evidence is emerging in countries such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines where the preparation and consumption of these animals is putting people's lives at risk. Rabies is one disease which can be reduced by implementing responsible and humane management practices for stray dogs and cats, and by removing these animals from the food chain.
Several authorities such as Beijing and Guangzhou have now implemented responsible procedures in an attempt to prevent disease. In recognition of the important role that dogs play in society, city departments in Beijing reduced the licence fee from 5000 Rmb to 1000 Rmb, as of October 15th 2003. Subsequently the number of registered dogs shot up to 410,000 citywide and experts estimate that this represents roughly 90 per cent of the total number of dogs in the capital - all of which are now vaccinated against rabies.
Allowing people to have companion animals is very much in keeping with the change in China's social structure where dogs and cats are seen today as playing an important role in developing society. During the Olympic Games in Beijing, and during natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Sichuan, sniffer dogs were risking and losing their lives to protect and help the people of China. Similarly, customs dogs and even guide dogs for the blind are being introduced into community service and the public are gradually recognising this species as one which can benefit our day to day lives, rather than providing us with food.
Dogs provide comfort for the elderly and emotional support for those who are childless or single. As a result, more and more people are turning to dogs for companionship and support, and pet ownership is booming, with just over 150 million pet dogs throughout the nation - one for every nine people. (Xinhua News Agency 14th February 2005). ....As with similar studies worldwide, recent research in China, jointly conducted by the Psychology College of Beijing Normal University and Companion Animal Research and Information Centre (CARIC) also concluded that pet owners have better physical and mental health than non-pet owners.
"The human-pet bond is one of attachment and loyalty. When we as a society pay attention to it, we can also benefit from it by improving the quality of life for at least some social strata in very tangible ways. Hopefully our research can help the government in its pet-related regulations." Professor Zheng Richang, Beijing Normal University.
Dogs and other companion animals also provide an important financial, as well as emotional, contribution to China: according to the Beijing Kennel Club, pet owners in the city spend more than 500 million yuan on their pets a year. Experts predict that the annual sale of pet food and accompanying necessities and accessories in China may exceed 6 billion yuan by 2008 and that the market potential for the "pet economy" could reach a minimum of 15 billion yuan.
Embracing dogs as an integral part of our society also has long-term ramifications in the control or reduction of national healthcare costs. Studies by Professor Bruce Headey, at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic & Social Research, puts the amount of national savings in Australia or Germany at billions of dollars.
Animals Asia's successful Dr. Dog animal therapy programme sees over 300 dedicated volunteers and their dogs visiting hospitals, disabled centres, elderly homes, orphanages and schools spreading warmth and love to people in need across Asia. Dr. Dog operates in Hong Kong, Japan, India, the Philippines Taiwan and, most recently in China, in Chengdu, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. As a result, we have been inundated with calls from organisations across China requesting visits and from dog owners enquiring how to join this uniquely beneficial programme.

"The delight that Dr. Dog brings to our patients can never be done by medicine." Professor Jinxiang Li, The Department of Palliative Care, West China Fourth Hospital of Sichuan University.
....With dogs offering so many benefits to all sectors of society, it is vital that they are treated with the respect and compassion that they deserve. We urge the authorities in Hanzhong to end the cruel and senseless culling and to follow the example of other countries in Asia who have introduced wide-ranging protective measures for companion animals and who promote far reaching education programmes of responsible pet ownership, rabies awareness and humane stray dog and cat control. Animals Asia and the groups with whom we work with would be pleased to cooperate with the authorities on all levels to introduce and advise on public education initiatives to ensure that dogs and people can peacefully and safely co-exist in Hanzhong.
....In this context, we are forwarding a message to the Hanzhong authorities reflecting our concerns and requesting an urgent meeting to discuss this matter further. We look forward to working with them towards a more harmonious relationship between people and companion animals.

........Heihe city dog cull............Local government suspends cull in the face of strong opposition..........
Late last week we were alerted to a proposed dog cull in Heihe city in Hei Long Jiang province in China through emails and letters from local people horrified at the prospect.

While we investigated over the weekend, we received the news that the local government had a change of heart and stopped the cull for now, in response to the furious reaction from dog lovers, not just in Heihe city, but from across China.

Part of that protest was instigated by the leader of a Xia Men animal welfare group who attended our recent Companion Animal Symposium in Chengdu. He sent the city officials a letter based on Animals Asia guidelines and on a sample letter sent by us previously in a similar situation. He also appealed to all animal welfare groups in China and animal lovers to add their support by sending this letter to the Heihe government.

We also sent a letter to the city officials, not only praising their decision to stop the cull, but also suggesting ideas for better dog management and offering our help with public education, etc.

You can read our letter to the Heihe government officials below. We will continue to monitor the situation in Heihe and let you know if we need your support for further action.

Letter to the Heihe Government officials from Animals Asia Foundation :

25 May 2009
Attention: Heihe City Government

Dear Sir/Madam,

We have heard that Heihe local government has decided to temporarily suspend the dog cull announced last week – and that in the meantime, you will be seeking suggestions and comments from different departments and the public in order to make regulations on dogs in the city more complete and humane.

We are also pleased to know that, before the more detailed regulations are launched, the related government department will promote responsible dog ownership. We believe these acts by the Heihe Government will be highly praised by animal lovers in China and beyond.

As an animal-welfare organisation working in China for many years, we also hope that we can provide some suggestions to the city government on dog management.

Heihe is not the first city to use a dog cull to tackle the problem of rabies. Two years ago, Mouding County in Yunnan, and Jinan in Shandong used a similar method. While we understand that your decision to cull the city's dog population is based on the safety and health of the public, having such a cruel, hastily implemented emergency massacre is not an effective and efficient way to stop and control the spread of rabies.

The Animal Welfare Board of India recently published a report comparing two different ways of preventing rabies. The report shows that implementing a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) programme for stray dogs can greatly reduce the incidence of rabies outbreaks. For example, in Chennai, which has run a TNR programme since 1996, the cases of rabies have reduced from 120 to five each year.

The study compared the two stages of rabies prevention in Chennai. The first stage was from 1980 to 1995, when culling was the main method used to prevent rabies; the second stage was from 1996 to 2005, when TNR had replaced the dog cull. The researchers found that from 1996 the number of rabies cases have plummeted, and there is more evidence to prove that neutering and vaccination are the only effective way to control both the number of stray dogs and rabies.

Dr Francette Dusan of WHO also supports this view. She said that in order to control rabies effectively, we need the cooperation of human and animal health organisations. "This has not been pursued adequately to date in China with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls”. (Associated Press, 1 August, 2009)

Last year, many places in China carried out dog culls supposedly to stop the spread of rabies. These proved yet again that dog culls cannot effectively prevent disease; instead they hurt the feelings of dog lovers in China and all over the world, and will damage the image of Heihe, both in China and abroad.

It is important also to realise that it is impossible to prohibit the public from keeping dog as pets. On the contrary, the important role companion animals play has been widely recognised by our society. In China, the importance of dogs as members of society is gaining more recognition due to the change in social structure. For example, families that don’t have children or single, elderly people see their dog as a companion and an emotional comfort.

For these reasons, the number of people keeping pets is increasing and the number of pet dogs has reached 1.5 million. On average, one of every nine people will have one pet dog.

There are studies from all over the world, including one from China recently, all of them proving the value of companion animals. Research conducted by the Beijing Teachers Education University School of Psychology and The Companion Animals’ Research Center, concluded that keeping pets can make people healthier.

Dogs and other companion animals not only contribute on the emotional side, but also to China’s economy. Pet owners in Beijing spend up to 500 million RMB on their pets each year. Experts say spending on pet food and other accessories in China was over 6 billion RMB in 2008. The market potential of the “pet economy” is up to 15 billion.

Animals Asia’s Dr Dog programme also provides solid proof of dogs being our best companions. Over 300 Dr Dog volunteers regularly visit hospitals, disabled centres, elderly homes, schools and orphanages, bringing love and care to the needy in six countries in Asia. Currently, the Dr Dog programme is running in Hong Kong, Japan, India, The Philippines, Taiwan and in mainland China (Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu). We have over 70 Dr Dogs in China, where this programme has attracted a lot of pet owners who are very interested in joining Dr Dog, and a lot of organisations looking forward to our Dr Dog visits. Dogs have contributed so much to mankind, they deserve our respect and they deserve to be treated well.

We sincerely ask the Heihe government to amend the current Act, using Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other cities’ more effective and scientifically proven methods of dog-management regulations.

Please implement measures that protect the rights of companion animals, strengthen the promotion of “being a responsible pet owner”, and use a humane way to control the numbers of stray dogs and cats.

Animals Asia and our partners are willing to work with the Heihe government on public education, ensuring both humans and dogs can live safely and harmoniously together in Heihe. At the same time, we also suggest the Heihe government strengthen its cooperation with local animal protection organisation and the local community to develop a scientifically proven and effective way of managing dogs.

Under these circumstances, we sincerely hope that Hehei’s related departments can accept our suggestions and use a more humane way to control and prevent rabies, giving innocent animals the chance to live.

I look forward to your reply.


Jill Robinson
Founder and CEO
Animals Asia Foundation

1 Comment:

beni said...

I am so sickened and so disturbed by this post. Just when you think you have seen all the animal cruelty there is, you stumble on yet more. I can't even imagine how someone could participate in this cruelty. And I was surprised to see women in the photos as participants.

I wanted to write about this on my blog, but I can't even find the words.

I shall join the boycott of goods from China... it's the least I can do. Maybe by the end of the boycott on July 4, I will have developed a China-free habit.

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