China is engaged in Draconian anti-Covid measures which are cruel and bewildering to outsiders and animal advocates. They have a zero-tolerance strategy but that zero tolerance applies to cats and dogs but not people. The ‘zero’ means zero life if a cat or dog tests positive for Covid. There are stories circulating that when a person tests positive for Covid as well as his or her cats and dogs, the resident has to go into quarantine and be treated while the pets are euthanised or let’s put it more accurately: killed. This is unfair and immoral.
Apparently, it’s happening all over China during a surge in the Covid pandemic. The Sun reports that a resident in Chengdu claimed on the Chinese social media website, Xiaohongshu, that her cats were killed after she was moved from her home into quarantine as they all tested positive for the disease.
And in September a woman in Harbin in the north-east of China posted on social media that her three cats had been killed by community workers after she and her cats tested positive.
The underlying problem is that cats and dogs are unprotected because there are no general animal welfare laws of note in China. With that starting point, it is no surprise to me that the authorities can kill people’s pets with impunity and without recourse for the pets’ owners. They are unprotected. It’s a kind of dystopian, George Orwellian lifestyle in a parallel universe when compared to the West.
The problem is that there is no evidence that animals transmit the disease to people whereas there is a pile of evidence that people transmit the disease to other people. Pets are being killed for no logical or legitimate reason. It is just some blind local authority diktat which leads to these unnecessary deaths.
Rachael Tarlinton, a virology professor at the University of Nottingham, said: “It doesn’t seem very realistic that the cats would contaminate the environment so badly that they would be a risk for their owner to re-contract COVID.”
Some animal lovers in China are speaking out and showing their outrage on social media at the kill-pets policy. One person on Weibo said that the policy is “crude, simplistic and a lazy form of management, just in order to dodge responsibility.”
There appears to be a viral response by animal advocates to call out local authorities to try and stop this inhumane attitude towards companion animals. They want people to videotape the work of the authorities and insist that they are allowed to take their pets with them into quarantine.
This whole thing wouldn’t be contemplated in the West. It is anathema to lawmakers in the West to advocate the careless and callous killing of cats and dogs because they test positive for Covid.
It is a well-known fact that cats’ immune system copes well with Covid. They nearly always cure the disease themselves without intervention. The Chinese say that they have to be killed because there is no treatment for cats and dogs when they get Covid. But, as mentioned, they don’t need treatment.
And over and over again we read that there is no evidence currently that cats and dogs transmit the disease to people although it must be theoretically or actually possible as Covid is zoonotic. All the evidence is that people who get Covid transmit it to their cats and dogs.
And yet, it is the animals, the second-class citizens in China, who are persecuted. They are innocent victims in any case because Covid was started by human carelessness. This is a disease which was created by people. If an animal gets the disease, it is because of human mistakes. And then to compound the problem the local authorities kill the animals. Is there no end to this kind of madness?