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Animals Asia - Actions Update

Update on what Animals Asia is Doing about the Dog Culling in China

Dear all,
there is light at the end of this tunnel we hope. Please read below. Animals Asia is doing a wonderful job trying to find ways stop the horrendous dog culling in China. But they still need worldwide support and writing letters to the appropriate authorities. If you have five minutes write a letter and voice your opinion.
See for details below.

Thanks and Regards
Laura Teresa
President of Dogaid Australia
http://www.dogaid. freeservers. com

P.O Box 6050 Karingal Victoria 3199 Australia

Dogaid Australia - Member of Ritchies Supermarket Community Benefit Group of
Charities. Get a key tag or card and shop at Ritchies Supermarket 1% of
your expenditure goes to Korean Animals assistance.


Animals Asia Response to China Dog Culls - 16 November 2006

Animals Asia has been inundated with calls and emails from desperate dog owners in China as the Beijing Municipal Government begins a two-month crackdown against dogs in an attempt to enforce regulations, which have long been ignored.

As of November 7th 2006, a "one dog policy" took effect and all unlicensed dogs, along with dogs measuring over 35cm tall and dogs listed as "dangerous" breeds are being confiscated and killed in a three-stage operation. We have received reports that pet dogs are being bludgeoned to death in their owners' homes and on the streets, as well as being strangled, electrocuted and even buried alive.

It is widely acknowledged that the sudden enforcement of regulations is in response to the increase in rabies throughout the country. In July this year up to 50,000 dogs were slaughtered in Mouding county, Yunnan province following the deaths of three people from rabies. Dog killing squads also appeared in Shanghai and Jining in Shandong province, where thousands more dogs were brutally culled in August.

According to reports from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, human rabies deaths have increased dramatically this year. The Ministry of Health recorded 1,735 deaths from rabies nationwide in the first nine months of this year, up 29% from 2005. However, there have been no cases of people contracting rabies in Beijing for over 20 years and it is thought that the dog culling campaign is also part of an attempt to clean up Beijing in the lead up to the Olympics in August 2008. There are indications that if the cull in Beijing is successful then the intention is to expand the action to every city in China.

However, high-volume killing campaigns have proven time and time again, to be an ineffective measure to control populations of stray dogs and prevent rabies. Innovative new solutions to the problems of rabies and stray dog control, such as cost-effective "Trap/Neuter/ Release" and "Animal Birth Control" programmes are being adopted throughout the world, with statistically proven results: shelter intakes are down, 'nuisance' animals greatly reduced and most importantly - the incidences of rabies have dropped dramatically.

Professor Zu, Epidemiology Professor at An Huei University agrees "There are many effective measures that can be taken to control and prevent rabies in China, for example, promoting responsible ownership, mass vaccination, improving rabies vaccine quality in China, and keeping rural animals out of urban areas. Mass culling appears to be an easy option for rabies control, but its ineffectiveness has been proved by collaborative studies with the WHO in many countries."

Dr. Francette Dusan, a WHO expert on diseases passed from animals to people, said effective rabies control required coordinated efforts between human and animal health agencies and authorities. "This has not been pursued adequately to date in China with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls," Dusan said. (Press 1st August 2006.)

Over 70,000 injuries from dog bites were reported in Beijing in the first half of this year and this figure is increasing by about 10,000 each year according to the Xinhua news agency. Other cities throughout China are experiencing similar trends as more and more people turn to dogs for companionship and support, but continue to keep them illegally as the cost of registration remains unrealistically high.

Tang Qing, a researcher at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated "There are mainly two reasons that caused the rise in rabies cases in China recently. One is that the number of pets keeps increasing, but the regulations and vaccination of pets still lag behind. The other reason is that the public lacks relevant knowledge on rabies and necessary self-protection awareness."

Zhang Xuechun, chief physician at Beijing's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed Tang Qing's view. "The fact that more than 70,000 residents were bitten by dogs during the first six months of this year in Beijing alone sends a message that quite a number of dog owners do not have such awareness. Once a person develops rabies symptoms, no hospital can save his or her life. Meanwhile, more and more people have been aware of the threat. Last year, 80,000 Beijing residents received the vaccine. This year even more people are getting the vaccination. "

Changing family demographics, such as childless couples and increasing numbers of elderly people living alone in China, mean that dogs are increasingly seen as important family members. Mr. Chu, a dog owner who lives in Beijing said he and his wife "have no child and have always seen their Golden Retriever as their child. But now the dog will be taken away, which is totally unacceptable. " Another dog owner, Mr Liu, said, "for the young people born in the early 1980s, the 'One Child' policy made us lose the opportunity to have any brother or sister. It is my dog who brings me joy and comfort."

AAF Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, said, "As in the West, millions of dog and cat owners in China have a close bond with their pet as strong as any connection to a child. The desperate messages we are receiving today begging for a compassionate solution would melt the hardest of hearts, yet every letter from desperate dog owners also makes the point that the government must be helped to oversee responsible, country-wide initiatives which adopt scientific anti-rabies procedures, responsible pet care and community education programmes."

Christie Yang, Animals Asia's China Relations Director stated, "What these dog owners want to do is to protect their dogs, whom they see as their family member. They don't want to make trouble for the government and most of them support the government's wishes to strengthen the management of pet dogs, but simply can't agree that dogs taller than 35cm shouldn't have a right to live." Many of the dogs over 35cm that are currently being confiscated were previously registered, therefore the late enforcement of this regulation has caught dog owners by surprise, with many claiming the actions are unfair.

Robinson called on the government to listen to the groups offering their help: "The Chinese government has shown such innovative, serious measures for addressing impossible problems in the past - please now extend your foresight and compassion and work with those of us in China who sincerely wish to promote harmony between people and animals alike."

What Animals Asia is doing

- First and foremost Animals Asia is delighted to learn that the Beijing authorities are discussing the implementation of a micro-chipping programme for pet dogs. We have written to the Mayor of Beijing urgently inviting the Chinese government to discuss how we can help to facilitate this programme, together with vaccination stations in rural areas of China where the rabies situation is most critical.

- As our contribution towards public education programmes we are in close contact with numerous animal welfare groups in China and continue to distribute thousands of basic pet care leaflets, along with our new dog-bite prevention leaflets to groups across China. Please see our recent joint World Animal Day activities.

- Following our recent meetings in Nanjing, where the authorities have pledged not to slaughter dogs, Animals Asia will be supplying 100,000 basic pet care and dog-bite prevention leaflets for a 100-day educational campaign, which will include province-wide road shows and community lectures to promote responsible pet ownership. Jill and Christie (our China Relations Director) will be flying up to Nanjing to speak at a press conference to kick off the campaign at the end of November.

- We will also be hosting and sponsoring Ms. Ha who runs the animal shelter in Nanjing, along with her vet, a representative from the Nanjing Ministry of Agriculture and a representative from the Nanjing Police, to attend a workshop in Hong Kong at the end of February 2007. The aim of the workshop is to provide firsthand experience of humane stray dog control programmes, shelter management and public education initiatives in the hope that Nanjing will implement similar programmes and serve as an example to other provinces in China.

- We have written to the following people, requesting their support and assistance:

Neil Parish MEP
Peter Skinner MEP
Mr. Wang Qishan - The Mayor of Beijing
Minister Gao Qiang - the Ministry of Health of China
His Excellency Zha Peixin - Chinese Embassy in the UK
Neil Parish has written to Minister Li Zhaoxing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Anders Nordstrom - (Acting) Director General of the World Health Organisation
Dr. Margaret Chan - (New) Director General of the World Health Organisation
Dr. Shigeru Omi, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific
Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative in the People's Republic of China
Dr. David Bayvel - Director General of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health)

What you can do

Please write a polite letter of concern to the following organisations, calling for the immediate cessation of the brutal dog culls. (We have not provided a sample letter as we feel that in this case, personal letters will have the most impact.)

- Your local Chinese Embassy. Embassy addresses can be found at:
www.travelchinaguid embassy_list. htm

- Minister Gao Qiang, Ministry of Health,
No. 1, Xi Zhi Men Wai Nan Lu Rd,
Xi Cheng District,
Beijing, 100044,

- Please also write to the Nanjing Police, applauding them for their progressive decision to stop culling dogs in their province. You can send your letter c/o Animals Asia and we will pass them onto the Police at our next meeting.

- If you live in the UK, please write a polite letter to your local MP and MEP asking them to write to the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the Chinese Health Minister and encourage them to adopt practical and humane solutions to the problems of rabies and stray dog control and to work with the groups offering their help. You can locate your local MP and MEP at www.writetothem. com



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