Pei F Su and Chris Le Blond write:
In response to the Hanzhong dog culling, ACTAsia for Animals immediately took the lead in organising a forum in Beijing to discuss scientific and humane alternatives of rabies prevention and control in the country. The Veterinary Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Centre for Animal Disease Control (CADC), officials from regional animal disease control centres, academics from related fields and animal welfare groups attended. Although dog culling has been common throughout China for decades, this is the first time that animal welfare groups have discussed this issue with relevant authorities and academics in a public setting.
The most positive and important outcome was that all attenders opposed culling and agreed that the only effective way of eliminating rabies in dogs is through mass vaccination programmes.
Central government officials and academics alike were shocked by the gruesome footage on the indiscriminate killing of dogs in Hanzhong.
Jia You Lin, Representative of the CPPCC National Committee, and former Director of Veterinary Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, stated that “the Hanzhong case is not an isolated incident. More similar cases might emerge and many have preceded it. It’s brutal and cruel. It is not difficult to control dogs, and there are many successful models from other countries. Good legislation and enforcement of vaccination are the fundamental solutions to control rabies”.
The culling in Hanzhong has led to mass outrage within China from the public and dog owners who witnessed their dogs being slaughtered. Local animal welfare groups and the media posted the news widely.
Zhu Peikang, Council Chairman of the China Medical Foundation, stated: “This forum is of great significance. Now, more and more people have dogs, humans and animals should peacefully co-exist. We hope to do more promotion and approach relevant departments with a scientific solution to achieve a harmonious co-existence between humans and animals.”
Following our support to local groups at the scene, calling upon supporters to pressurise the government, and organising this forum, ACTAsia will continue to campaign for humane rabies control in China, and we will continue to fight the dog culls.
ACTAsia are grateful to HSI for co-sponsoring this event.