What is the fate of Chinese dogs?


After hours of deadblock, volunteers bought all the 500 dogs.

Today (April 16th), animal protectors stopped a truck with over 500 dogs on board at the 25th Exit on JingShen Highway. Protectors believed that the owner was a dog thief who stole pet dogs for restaurants. The issue quickly raised much attention on Internet. Beijing government, CCTV, Phoenix TV and many animal protection organizations sent governors, journalists and volunteers to the place immediately. The whole event was tweeted on Sina Microblog and attracted over 20 thousand followers.

From my perspective, there are at least two questions to be discussed:
Why did they (truck owner and animal protectors) do so?
Can they do so?

Let’s look at the first one.

Where there is needs, there is market. Dog meat consumption is an important part of traditional Chinese culture. Liu Bang, the founder of Han Dynasty, is famous for his love on dog meat. Nowadays, dog meat is still the regional specialty in some cities like Xu Zhou. Eaters think that dog meat is much more tasty than pork or beef: since dogs keep running all day long, their meat contains more “energy” compared to the “lazy” pork and beef. So some people raise dogs or buy dogs from local citizens for eating. Since the regulations for pets are still not complete in majority cities, some people even steal the pet dogs to sell to the restaurants for money. I’ve heard about the news that two thieves stole a precious Tibetan Mastiff which cost its owner more than 4 million RMB to the restaurant at the price of only 2000 RMB.

Chinese animal protectors mainly focus on the protection of pets and wild animals. They fight against all kinds of abuse and hunt. There was a famous Chinese movie Hoh Xil that told the story of protectors in Hoh Xil fight against the Tibetan antelope hunters.

So it seems that both sides have strong and acceptable motivation: the truck owner wanted profit; the protectors wanted to save the dogs because they love the animals. But the question is, are both sides’ actions ethical, legal and reasonable?

I am not a dog eater, but considering it is a part of traditional Chinese food culture which is not banned by Chinese laws, I do not oppose the dog meat consumption. However, the premise is, THE DOGS ARE RAISED FOR EATING PURPOSE. Protectors tolerate pork and beef consumption, because there are certain kinds of pigs and bulls that are raised for this kind of purpose. Thailand people raise crocodiles for eating, which is the same as Japanese do with dolphins. But I cannot tolerate any kind of abuse or hunt on pets and wild animals. They are the friends of humans. If the truck owner stole the pet dogs and was going to sell them to restaurants, I appeal to give him harsh punishment.

What about the protectors’ actions? At the first glance, they seemed to be the heroes that saved hundreds of dogs. But further discussion would discover that question: who endowed them such power to stop, check and interrogate vehicles? According to the law, the truck is the private property which is protected by the government. The owner has the rights to do transportation. Only the public safety department has the power to stop to check. It is the protectors that broke the law and interrupted the normal life of the truck owner.

From the other side, I cannot agree with some points hold by the protectors. I admit that dogs are friends of humans. But are pigs and bulls the friends of humans? They are all livings who are given to birth by god equally. Why the protectors ignore the demands of pigs and bulls? My friend in other countries told me that, most European country citizens think that dog meat consumption is intolerable. But the interesting thing is, French chefs raise geese in very cruel ways to get most delicious liver; Italians love horse meat; Every person on this planet knows how Spanish matadors treat bulls. I am not defending dog meat consumption. I just wonder that is there any criteria for the animal protectors to judge which kind of animals deserve their protection?

Maybe it’s decided by the intimacy: people live with dogs but not with pigs or bulls;
Maybe it’s based on the value of animals: a 4 million Tibetan Mastiff should definitely be protected from the eaters;
Maybe it’s just their own flavor preference: I love the taste of goose liver, so it can be ate.

I am not trying to agitate the enmity between animal protectors and gastronomists. I believe that all kinds of living things are created equally and all enjoys the rights to live happily on this planet. I just wish that one day there could be a perfect solution that all animals rights to live and all humans desire for delicious foods can be satisfied.

The latest news before I post it: two animal protectors raised 50 thousand RMB from relevant organizations. They bought all the 500 dogs with the money and an extra 50 thousand from their own. The dogs have been sent to the pet hospital own by the two guys and were promised to receive careful treatments.

I appreciate their kind hearts. But urgent actions could not last long. I am looking forward to see the appearance of better laws, regulations and system.

About ShuzeChen

Shuze Chen is a full time graduate student at SPR, Annenberg, USC. He comes from Jiangsu, China. He did his undergraduate in Advertising, Nanjing University.
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