Update Sept. 22, 2009: Thanks to your calls and letters and theÂ actions of people all over the world including in China, it appears the dog cull set to begin in Qinhuangdao has been called off.
Signs announcing the cull have been taken down.Â
For more information including about China’s proposed animal cruelty law and efforts to help Chinese provinces and cities with animal control and rabies, read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below.Â Â Â Â
Original report: Another massive dog cull is set to begin in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China.
After reports of several people dying from rabies, authorities ordered the slaughter of dogs that fail to comply with the city’s dog management regulations. The regulations ban several breeds of dogs deemed "dangerous" and also all dogs over 35 cm tall. Dogs allowed in the province, those under 35 cm, are not allowed in public between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Dogs must be licensed.
Dogs culls are not unique to China. The culls are carried out usually by teams of people chasing down and beating dogs to death with heavy sticks. It is horrific, of course, archaic and terribly cruel. The fear and suffering of the dogs is unimaginable.
Owners in Qinhuangdao who are not in compliance with the regulations,Â have been told to kill their dogs or the police will take them (the dogs) and beat them to death. These owners must also pay the equivalent of $30 as a fine.Â
A dog cull in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, China,Â earlier this year resulted in the bludgeoning deaths of over 35,000 dogs. That cull was prompted by the deaths of several people from rabies and reports of dogs biting approximately 6,200 people. Â Â Â Â
Rabies kills 3,000 people each year in China. There are also concerns about sanitation as well as safety from abandoned, aggressiveÂ or feral dogs.
The good news is that education about responsible pet ownership and other measures to control rabies and numbers of strays, is helping. Animals Asia has recommended that Chinese provinces and cities consider regulations requiring registration of all dogs in the household, rabies vaccinations, micro-chipping, and tags; and offer reduced registration fees for sterilized dogs and for the elderly, people with service dogs and those who have kept up their registration. Animals Asia also recommends laws requiring owners to pick up after their dog and walk them in designated areas. Other laws would regulate breeders and sellers, impose animal welfare standards and require owners to keep dogs from acting aggressively. Trap neuter return for feral dogs and holding and rehoming facilities for stray or abandoned pets are more ideas being implemented in some Asian cities. Go here for more information. Â Â
Also, China is considering its first national animal cruelty law. If this proposed law passes, dog culls would be illegal. As would hauling cats to Guangdong Province where they are boiled alive in water to create a delicacy, shui zhu huo mao. Â Acts like these would be considered cruelty that could mean prison time for violators. Â The proposal includes fines for lesser offensesÂ up to 6,000 yuan ($877) and periods ofÂ detention.
The proposalsÂ alsoÂ include humane farm animal practices in breeding, transportation and slaughter. Â
To control incidents of abandoned animals, proposals call forÂ bans onÂ breeding of pets and require micro-chipping.
The proposed law is undergoing review and is expected to be submitted to the State Council by the end of the year. It is not on the agenda, however, for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, for 2010-2013. So nothing will happen soon.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Animals Asia recommends that it is more effective for you to write a personal letter to the "Chinese Ambassador and send it to the main embassy address in your country. Embassy addresses can be found here: www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/embassy_list.htm.
Explain, politely but firmly, that the policy is cruel, heartless and ineffective, and paints the people and government of Qinghuangdao in a very poor light.
Urge the Chinese authorities to persuade the Qinghuangdao City government to abandon this policy of killing dogs taller than 35cm high. Please urge the authorities to allow dog owners to keep the dogs they already have and allow them to live out their natural lives."