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Press officer: "Men's best friend" will be better treated as local governments' capacity enhances

(Ask the Embassy)

Johan, from Riviera, Tshwane writes:

Though I believe the article, Call to boycott Chinese goods in protest at mass slaughter of dogs in China (August 6, Sunday Independent), doesn't make any sense, I'm still very, very concerned about the way you Chinese treat men's best friend. How come you guys treat them like that?


Press Officer:

I understand your concerns, Johan. And I go along with you with regard to the article you referred to. That's not the way to get things right.

Sacrifices are made sometimes due to lack of capacity, not ill intention. To my way of thinking, the dog story which worries you so much is exactly such a case.

This year witnesses a sharp increase in rabies cases in China. Figures from the Ministry of Health indicate that 623 people died of rabies in June alone, representing an alarmingly high death toll. As each and every life is most precious, you can imagine what a grave situation local officials have to face. It is duty-bound for local governments to take every active and effective measures to curb this epidemic.

Pet raising, particularly pet-dog raising is fairly a new thing in China. As people bid farewell to poverty and gradually become affluent, they began to raise pets as their friends. However, their knowledge about and sense of social responsibility in raising pets are lagging far behind.

At the same time, not all Chinese local government functionaries are fully prepared and equipped to cope with the negative consequences brought by pet raising among the general public. When rabies breaks out, some local governments are somewhat panicked and rush to take resolute and drastic measures as they would do to deal with other epidemics such as bird flu. As you know, in order to save human lives, it is a common and best practice worldwide to kill all the poultry in and around the areas that are affected by bird flu.

As a matter of fact, some local governments in China have been doing better jobs. For example, Beijing has adopted effective measures on dog raising. If dog keepers fail to have their pets checked-up and immunized, they may be fined. So most dogs have been immunized in Beijing. From 1994 to 2004, no rabies cases in the capital had been reported.

But some local governments haven't done as well as Beijing and they did something you don't like to see. This is not because they love dogs less, but because they simply lack the preparedness and capacity to effectively cope with the epidemic of such a magnitude.

Dogs are men's best friends. Laws and regulations are being formulated and implemented in China to ensure the welfare of animals. Trust me, Johan, with China's strategy to build a harmonious society being implemented, the relationship between men and dogs, between men and animals, between men and nature will become more and more harmonious.

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