China's Cruel Cure for Rabies
Two weeks ago a headline hit news stands and Internet sites that shocked nearly everyone: “China Begins Mass Dog Slaughter.”
The story behind the headline: As a result of three rabies deaths, Muding County in China’s Yunnan Province initiated a dog cull, aiming to kill 50,000 dogs in the county whether or not they had been vaccinated against rabies. Coordinated by the county police department, dog owners were told to kill their dogs themselves or face dog butchers clubbing their dogs to death.
Nearly 50,000 dogs were clubbed and beaten to death.
Upon questioning by IFAW, Muding County has now claimed to have stopped the cruel massacre. Whether this decision was in reaction to global outcry and opposition, or whether it was because there were simply no more dogs left to slaughter, is unclear.
While Muding County may have dropped their beating sticks, there is still an extremely high chance that other counties will engage in the same exercise in a misguided effort to get rid of rabies. According to media reports, Shandong Province, where 16 people have died from rabies in the last 8 months, is gearing up for a mass slaughter of their own.
Unfortunately, this is not a unique event in China. With no animal welfare legislation at the central government level and without an effective vaccination program or dedicated education efforts, the rabies problem is certain to return. However, in fairness not every county in China plans to execute the same ‘ingenious’ plan. Some counties are allowing owners to have their pets vaccinated for a fee of $25.
Without a doubt, rabies continues to be a battle for China. According to the Chinese Health Ministry, 2375 rabies deaths were reported last year nationwide. There is no question as to whether this problem needs to be dealt with or not, it definitely does. The world is merely asking China to consider humane options that make sense both to solve the problem and relieve such needless suffering for dogs.
I’m curious, does anyone know why police and military dogs are being spared……?