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Spare a thought for man's best friend

By Xiao Lixin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-21 08:07
Controversies over fun- or profit-driven abuse or killing of small animals (often cats and dogs) have become a regular affair. Recently, netizens exposed two such cases. The first was the brutal treatment of a dog that caused its death, although some kind-hearted passersby tried to save it by taking it to a pet clinic. The other is the "imminent" slaughter of up to 10,000 dogs in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to celebrate the dog meat-eating festival on summer solstice, which falls on June 21 this year.

Animal activists have appealed to the authorities to ban such festivals and organized some dog rescue campaigns to protest against animal abuse.

Perhaps the problem is the absence of a specific law against transportation of dogs for slaughter or selling of dog meat. Adding to the problem are local customs of eating dog meat on special occasions. This has emboldened people who deal in dogs and dog meat to carry on their trade with alacrity. The result: apart from the dogs reared for slaughter, stolen pets and stray dogs also end up under the butcher's knife. It is thus impractical to expect civil animal protection groups and animal lovers, which are powerless anyway, to end dog stealing.

The only legal document on animal protection is the Law on the Protection of Wildlife. But it is directed against illegal activities such as smuggling, hunting, trapping and killing of wild animals, and dogs, except for a few species, are not wild animals. Unfortunately, the long-expected law on the protection of small animals is still in the proposal stage.

Therefore, the authorities have to issue a specific law or regulation as soon as possible for the effective protection of small animals. The law or regulation should stipulate strict punishment for people who abuse or kill animals, or buy or sell them illegally.

The WWF slogan, "When the buying stops, the killing can too", is frequently flashed across TV screens and newspapers, and although it is aimed at the protection of endangered species such as tigers, rhinos, elephants and sharks, it is also applicable to small animals.

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