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Fellow Comments on Growth of Animal Sensitivity in China

10th October 2011

Centre Fellow Professor Deborah Cao has recently commented on welcome signs of increasing sensitivity to animals in China in the New York Times.

The NY Times article states that “With pet ownership growing rapidly in China, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival has been canceled … people across the country cheered recently when officials in eastern China said they were doing away with a 600-year-old local custom: the slaughter of thousands of dogs to be eaten at an autumn festival”.  It continues:

Pet ownership has grown rapidly among the Chinese, as has a greater consciousness of animal rights. In the Mao era, the Communist Party condemned pets as a byproduct of bourgeois decadence. But these days, dogs and cats (and all manner of creatures, including rabbits and birds) have become accouterments of Chinese middle-class living. What was once slated for the pantry is now housed in a playpen.

Other grass-roots animal-rescue efforts have also gotten results. Last April, a man spotted a truck on a Beijing highway that was packed with more than 500 dogs being shipped to slaughterhouses that supply restaurants in northern China. The man put out a call on the Internet to stop the vehicle, and soon it was blocked by more than 200 people; the crowd rescued the dogs after paying $17,000.

Professor Cao, at Griffith University in Australia, commented: “I believe China is going through a Chinese animal liberation movement, a bottom-up movement, gaining huge momentum in the past year, very much with the help of the Internet and Weibo, together with the younger generation growing up with cats and dogs as family pets.”

The full report can be read here.