On China, Silencing Dissidents and New Strategies
Fresh from Beijing this morning, I bring you thoughts and an appeal from an Animal Person reader that isn’t just about eating cats, which is as unacceptable as eating chickens. It’s about the industry and the environment that breeds not only suffering and rights violations, but illegal behavior and disease. Read on . . .
CATS SMUGGLED OPENLY in NANJING, CHINA
These two video clips of pet cats being smuggled to their death were shot just a few weeks ago, in Nanjing, China, by brave local and foreign activists.
There is no extreme violence in it, just the beginning of a tragic journey for cats who were bred and raised to be pets, but who didn’t sell, including many strays who were taken off the streets.
A TWOFOLD CRIME
The crime you see in this video is not just cruelty, but cruelty perpetrated against those we bred to be gentle to us. We humans, all of us, everywhere, have betrayed the animals we purposely bred to be gentle. Cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, cows, sheep — does it really matter? Whether pets or livestock, we don’t breed the ass-kickers.
BIGGER STORY – HUMAN HEALTH
For those of you who are journalists, there are a few potential stories here that could fit in a context slightly broader than cruelty to cats and dogs:
Such as: WORLD HEALTH, CHINA’S LEGAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD SAFETY, GLOBALIZATION OF BIOLOGICAL THREATS, etc.
EATING, SKINNING and SMUGGLING CATS and DOGS
WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT IN CHINA IF ITS OWN LAWS WERE ENFORCED
Something most people probably don’t know: Although eating cat and
dog meat in China is legal , almost NOTHING else about the trade is.
The reason for this is simple: While there are still no animal
welfare laws — despite years of attempts by activists and national
representatives — in the wake of SARS, there are now many health,
agricultural and animal husbandry laws and regulations designed to
protect not Chinese and world citizens from virulent disease outbreaks.
Theoretically, these laws make it quite difficult to become a
licensed breeder or kennel or even a "factory farmer,” much less
smuggle them from city to city with no health inspections. I doubt
anyone in China could sell, transport or cook dogs and cats if ANY of
these laws were enforced.
SHOULD LAWS AND REGULATIONS BE IMPORTANT
IN THE WORLD’S NEWEST, BIGGEST FOOD AND DRUG FACTORY?
Unfortunately, other priorities — e.g., shutting people up — take
precedence over enforcing these laws designed to protect human health.
The government is too busy silencing dissent to worry about laws
written to prevent the incubation and spread of diseases in literally
hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop breeding "facilities", backroom
slaughterhouses, restaurants and furriers who are part of the same
out-of-control underground meat-and-skin economy of which these cats
are now unfortunate participants.
And that same underground economy is both huge and well-connected to the globalized food and drug economy.
EVEN THE GOVERNMENT IS OPENLY BREAKING ITS OWN HEALTH LAWS
Here’s an interesting example to give the world health community pause:
Pet hospitals in Beijing are forbidden from selling animals. For a
very good reason: Hospitals are opportune places for ambitious bugs
seeking new hosts. So, given that you’ve already got a building full of
sick and dying animals, perhaps one should leave the pet sales to
And yet…. Not only does is happen, but it is common, and the
biggest offender in Beijing is the infamous, government-owned
Ornamental (Guanshang) Pet Hospital, whose entire front area is devoted to an aquarium-like space —
without a shred of comfort for the animals — for cat sales and
Ornamental (which lives up to its name) is not only one of the
biggest pet hospitals, but is OWNED by the Beijing Exit-Entry
Inspection and Quarantine Bureau and — but, wait, there’s
more! — is the ONLY hospital in Beijing authorized to provide health
certificates to take a dog or cat out of the country.
Talk about a "perfect storm" of conflict-of-interest in the Ye Olde Animal Quarantine and Exit-Entry Inspection Biz!
WHY WORRY? IT’S CHINA, NOT MISSOURI, RIGHT?
First of all, take a very cursory look into unregulated, reckless selective breeding of fur-bearing animals and pets in China.
— Cross-bred Finland artic foxes being bred in Shandong Province that cannot walk.
— Labradors in Beijing bred to be so aggressive they are mistaken for being rabid.
Pet dogs in Beijing showing up with infections usually only seen in
livestock. (Tongzhou, Beijing, is the perhaps one of the world’s leader
in genetically Frankenstein experiments in puppy and kitten mills.
Fortunately, it’s only a few kilometers from the Beijing International
Spend more than few minutes looking into the reckless breeding of
pets and/or fur animals (same thing here), and you’ll feel inspired to
write a science fiction novel about how human civilization kills itself
not in a nuclear Armageddon, but in the pursuit of a cheaper mink coat.
China’s booming "animal husbandry industries" are engaging in a big
biological experiment that is being regulated and watched by no one.
Now, add to that the fact that EVEN THE GOVERNMENT ENTITY IN CHARGE
OF SUPERVISING PET DOGS and CAT who board international flights is
SELLING ANIMALS ILLEGALLY.
So, back to this video…
Friendly cats in wooden crates thrown around like as if they were nothing more than boxes of shoes and not living beings.
I always feel powerless seeing these videos. The animals are so helpless, so voiceless.
But if you looked more closely — with a microscope, for instance…
You might see level of nonhuman life forms who are extremely
powerful, and who are neither afraid of, nor powerless before humans.
And we have no cages small enough to contain them.
COULD NANJING AND ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI BECOME BIOLOGICAL SISTER CITIES TOO?
Maybe, in the year 2009, it will be one of these wooden crates where another disease makes the jump to humans.
Maybe a few weeks or months later, some young American child in St.
Louis, Missouri will come down with a deadly new bug her businessman
father brought back from a flight from Nanjing.
What was Daddy doing in Nanjing? Perhaps he was on an economic
exchange with other St. Louis businesspeople to celebrate St. Louis’ 30 years of Sister City status status with Nanjing.
Maybe he ate at the wrong restaurant at the wrong time. Maybe
everyone in his delegation ate at the wrong restaurant at the wrong
WHAT CAN BE DONE? CHANGE STRATEGY…
I have a suggestion: Instead of emailing petitions for animal
welfare laws into the blackhole of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, or the
central government, why not appeal to the health and scientific
communities inside and outside China.
So, why not change the strategy a bit:
Send letters of protest against cruelty — and for animal welfare laws — directly to:
— the World Health Organization <http://www.who.int/en/>
the various Centers for Disease Control <http://www.cdc.gov/> in
your country, including the one in Beijing,
— the Chinese Ministry of Health <http://www.moh.gov.cn/publicfiles//business/htmlfiles/wsb/index.htm>
— National Health Ministries.
— Customs and Quarantine Departments
And other government, non-government or corporate entity that is
extremely concerned about the spread of infectious diseases.
Maybe even Departments of Education– ask them to recommend any of
their exchange programs avoid major dog/cat smuggling cities like
Nanjing whose public health standards are so dismal, they could pose a
threat to visiting students.
I don’t know what can possibly stop humanity’s cruelty to nonhuman
animals, but perhaps a little bit of self-interest — not wanting one’s
child to die from a disease bread in a puppy mill in Beijing patronized
by the Beijing Quarantine Bureau itself, for instance — might help
reduce some of it.