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.
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 Xinhuanet.com 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
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.