CHINA / National

China debates killings of dogs
Updated: 2006-08-11 06:58

After two local governments ordered mass killings of dogs following a rabies outbreak, a heated debate has emerged about that method of rabies control.

The local government of Mouding County, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, killed 54,429 dogs from July 25 to 30 after discovering 357 locals had been bitten by dogs so far this year and that three people had died of rabies.

The local government of Jining City, in east China's Shandong Province, did the same, after the city's 9 counties and districts and 14 townships reported several outbreaks of rabies that have claimed several lives.

Dog lovers consider the local governments' actions horrific.

"If these dogs weren't vaccinated, that's people's fault and dogs should not be made to pay for human negligence," said Tang Bing, a tourism official.

"The mass slaughter of dogs is cold-blooded. Governments should detect dogs with rabies and put them down in a humane manner," said Stone Chen, a 22-year-old journalist and dog owner.

Protest letter

Fourteen animal protection associations from all over the country wrote a letter to protest the two governments' mass slaughter policy.

They said rabies had broken out in other parts of the country in the past, but local governments had curbed the spread of the contagious disease by strengthening vaccination work and killing vagrant dogs.

Other citizens believe the mass slaughter of dogs in the event of a rabies outbreak is necessary.

An Internet user left a message on saying that thousands of unvaccinated dogs in a county would pose a huge threat to the public.

Ding Zhengrong, a local epidemic prevention official in Yunnan Province, said if advance measures could be taken to prevent an outbreak of rabies, there would be no mass killing of dogs.

"Compulsory vaccination of all dogs is a solution," Ding said. He added some urban families failed to register and vaccinate their dogs because of the expensive fees.

In Jining City, in Shandong Province, it costs a family 4,500 yuan (US$565) to register and vaccinate a dog. The high cost reduces registrations and increases the risk of rabies outbreaks, Ding said. In vast rural areas, there is no clear-cut dog registration and vaccination system.


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