IFAW cultivates compassion and teaches responsible pet care in China

IFAW cultivates compassion and teaches responsible pet care in China

In China, there is no national animal welfare legislation and there are no laws protecting companion animals from maltreatment, abandonment or outright cruelty. With the number of dog owners on the rise, the need to cultivate responsible pet ownership is more important than ever.

A growing problem

Pet ownership in China has become popular only during this past decade, rapidly increasing the number of companion animals despite the fact that owners lack the knowledge and skills necessary to care for them, good information on responsible pet ownership and behavior isn't readily available, and there simply aren't enough quality veterinary services.

Owners are often resistant to spaying and neutering, vaccinating, leashing, or cleaning up after their pets. This exacerbates the conflict between pet owners and non-pet owners, a societal problem often exploited by enforcement agencies and used as an excuse for the restrictions on dog ownership. As a result, discrimination against dog owners and intolerance towards pets is on the rise.

These social prejudices, in conjunction with a lack of effective rabies prevention programs and education initiatives, spur local municipalities to frequently resort to the mass killing of dogs, also known as “culling.”

How IFAW is helping

Since 1993, IFAW has been supporting local rescue groups, educators, and veterinarians in over 20 provinces with technical, material and financial support.

Routine aid includes sheltering, food, veterinary care, adoption, and educational promotion of responsible care towards animals. Each year, IFAW works directly with Lucky Cats Rescue to spay and neuter 1500 plus cats and rescue and rehome over 300 animals. From 2010-2012, IFAW worked closely with local veterinarians and municipal authorities to develop a spay/neuter project in Beijing promoting humane dog population control through regulations, enhanced veterinary standards and increased public education and awareness.

IFAW also works to help rescue animals during natural and human disasters including recent earthquakes and numerous dog culls. IFAW’s efforts to prevent dog culls, in particular, have prevented approximately 2-3 dog culls per year since 1998.

In addition to rescue and education objectives, IFAW actively campaigns to change China’s laws at two critical levels. We urge cities and towns to adopt regulations that take rabies prevention and dog population control into consideration, and we advocate animal welfare legislation that prohibits animal cruelty, including brutal dog culls.

Through our comprehensive work in China, IFAW is laying the groundwork which will lead to widespread humane animal control policies and responsible pet ownership.