A Resounding Voice From China Says “No” to Animal Cruelty

I was overwhelmed with emotion when news of the government officials canceling pending dog cull in Jiangmen reached me. It is a relief that tens of thousands of lives are spared. But what moved me even more is that this time, it wasn’t the appeals from the international community that stopped the government officials knee-jerk decision. It was the concern and outrage from Chinese citizens flooding the internet and the media, which eventually forced the local bureaucrats to back down!

To people who don’t know about China, this victory of the people may not seem at all significant. After all, in the countries where we live in, officials are voted by the people and they normally don’t do things that are not popular among their constituency.

But we are talking about China, a country where I was born and grew up. I saw a Presidential election for the first time in my life when I went to theUnited Statesto do post graduate study. Government officials represent authority and you don’t ever question the decisions of the authority.


In the past two decades, things are changing with China’s opening to the outside world for economic development and with the advance of internet technology. In the past, if government media didn’t allow a story in the news, the public wouldn’t hear of it. Today, even though many popular social networking web sites in the west such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are blocked by the Chinese government’s “Great Fire Wall”, local companies created their own Chinese equivalent versions, which are replacing the government controlled conventional media as sources of information and outlets for expressing opinions, accessible by the nearly 500 million internet users in China.

In the past decades, I also saw the change in attitudes towards animals as well. Collaborating with IFAW, China’s largest online retail site, Taobao.com banned the trade of tiger bone, bear bile, elephant ivory, turtle shell and shark fin. In an IFAW poll, over 80% of the people said that they would not consume elephant ivory if they had known elephants are killed for their ivory.

Education and awareness raising is the key to changing behavior inChina. And this work is excellently carried out by our all-Chinese staff in the IFAW China office. Our understanding of the local political, social, and cultural environment help us better communicate animal welfare in a way that resonates with the general public in China.

Social change takes time. China has a long way to go in changing its treatment of animals.  But just as Chinese philosopher Lao Zi (Lao-tsu) said, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. What we witnessed today is a single step. But it shows progress in China. This progress should be embraced and celebrated. It needs our support and nurturing. We, all animal loving people everywhere, should stand with our friends in China to urge the government to improve legislation to make all cruelty to animals, illegal and punishable by law.

I completely agree with a comment to my earlier blog, it's only by encouraging and supporting animal groups within China, that anyone outside China can help positive change to come about for animals in China.


Comments: 4

6 years ago

Hello Grace.

I was also very happy to hear such news as well! But yesterday I was once again shocked by some pictures taken in the south of China of an average woman - old enough to be my mother and I am 26 years old, so I suppose she is certainly a mother to her children - alluring a stray baby dog with some meat and then viciously trapping it with a tool resembling iron scissors by the head and burning him up slowly, while it would twist, turn and cry. Her poise was neutral as she was roasting a chicken and after being able to stop my crying, I couldnt´t come to an understanding of the reasons why this woman could just ignore the crying of a baby - although not human it was a baby too - and act totally deprived of compassion and even humanity! I understand we as humans as primarily carnivorous and have to eat but even in the dawn of Men, when we were forced to hunt for food, we would kill the animals with more dignity than than showed by this woman, living in the 21st century!

I apreciate immensely all the work IFAW is carrying out throughout the world but my question is, how can we put an end to this kind of animal cruelty??? Is just not explainable under any concept!! If you could provide some info on the work being done in China to stop this and how can we, Europeans and citizens of the world, do to stop such free violence I would be very grateful!

My email is marta.sky@gmail.com

Thank you

6 years ago

I'm sure there will be more victories for the suffering abused animals in China. We see this news as a small beginning in the right direction. Will the Chinese government and the authorities respect the sentiments of their own people and of the animal lovers all over the world. Right now there are majestic tigers languishing and wasting away in tiger farms. Why do we need to torture & kill animals in inhumane fur, bear, rhino & tiger farms. Ensure welfare of all animals including wild animals, farm animals and street animals. All have the right to live and help man in one way or the other.

6 years ago

Thank you for fighting for these dogs! I just signed up to become a regular donor of this organization. Thanks for all the work you do!

6 years ago

This is great news and an excellent start for what will hopefully be increased animal rights in China. With more education and awareness the tide will change in favor of protecting animals that have no voice.

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