An article on the China Daily website gives me hope that companion animal welfare is improving in China and quite fast. To quote the words of Wen Haitao, the director of an animal hospital:
“I can see the improvement of pet protection efforts in China in recent years, as more cities have introduced guidelines for keeping pets and animal charities have mushroomed.”
This followed a Pet Adoption Day at a shopping mall. China Daily say that more Chinese are adopting rescue animals rather than buying which is surely a good sign.
Wen Haitao has attended three Pet Adoption Day events. The national adoption event was instigated by Beijing Adoption Day. It has been held five times. Pet adoption days are held in 51 cities across China. The goal: to promote adoption of rescue animals rather than buying from breeders.
Thirty dogs and ten cats were up for adoption at the Changsha event in Hunan province. Each companion animal was given a personal profile including age, personality and health. And a volunteer was assigned to each of them to ensure that they remained relative calm.
By all accounts the event was well attended and popular. Many people enquired about adoption and filled out a adoption form.
One lucky companion animal was a 6-year-old dog named Demacia who had been found in an underground parking lot about a month ago in Changsha. Xue Pingping’s son fell in love with Demacia at first sight and they filled out the adoption form. A home visit was arranged to make sure that they were suitable as dog owners.
This mirrors procedures in the West which is good to see. The organiser of the Changsha event Hu Yiming said:
“We have to make sure the new owners are suitable for the animals. After initial screening, our volunteers will pay a visit to double confirm. The prospective owners have to sign an adoption agreement and produce a copy of their ID information before they can receive the animals into their arms.”
Seventy percent of the companion animals at the Changsha event were adopted which is more than last year the organiser said. Although there is a long way to go, it looks like there are grounds for optimism for improved animal welfare in China.
It is when the citizens of China see the wrong in the cat and dog meat markets that it will stop. If they become more aware about animal welfare and more attached to their companion animals it is more likely they will find cat and dog meat repellant.
P.S. It seems that dogs are still more popular than cats in China which may be a legacy of the utility aspect of dogs. In developing countries dogs are generally more popular because they need them for security i.e. they are working animals.