NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT): A kind woman was filmed by another woman apparently measuring up a feral cat so that she could make a coat for the animal in preparation for a cold winter. It indicated that there are many people in China who are animal advocates. They are concerned about animal welfare and they see a need for an improvement in animal welfare because around them are feral cats and dogs who are vulnerable and suffering.
There appears to be (and I am cautiously optimistic) a gradual, emerging movement for the introduction of proper and well written animal welfare laws in China. They don’t have animal welfare laws which protect animals in general such as feral cats, domestic cat and dogs et cetera. This may surprise people. China is a massive country with the second biggest economy in the world. They will surpass America in the size of their economy in the future. It is a rapidly developing country and they are well past the time when they should have animal welfare laws properly enforced. Surely the lack of these laws is a reflection on the Chinese culture. It is in line with the coronavirus pandemic, when you think about it. That, it is universally agreed, was caused by an unhealthy and unethical approach to wild animal welfare at wet food markets. China has said that they have improved the markets in the light of the pandemic.
The Daily Mail reported on 21st October that China’s state broadcaster has urged the government to pass animal protection laws as soon as possible. The call was prompted by another act of animal cruelty when a man killed a stray cat because the animal had eaten his ham. He killed the cat in a brutal way and I won’t describe it here because I’m sick to death of that kind of cruelty as I’m sure are most other people in the West. And I’m sure that there are people in China who are also sick to hear about it. Which is why there is the gradual emergence of a movement towards better animal welfare in that country.
To return to the lady I mentioned in the first paragraph. The picture you see was taken on the night of October 25 in the city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province which is in northern China. We don’t know the name of the good Samaritan in the photograph. The photograph is a screen capture of a video made by Liang Yi who was taking a stroll with her husband when she saw the woman who she says is in her 60s. The temperature at the time was not too cold at 10°C but winter is coming. The good Samaritan leans over the stray cat who is eating from a plastic bag. She holds a piece of felt over the cat’s body, apparently to check the size, perhaps in preparation for making a coat for the cat.
Lian Yi was moved by the behaviour of the woman. She says that she was ‘full of love’. She spoke to the woman and found out that she also looks after six stray dogs in the neighbourhood. Inspired by this lady Lian Yi decided to make a warm bed for the cat. She said that she wants the public “to pay more attention to stray animals. Even if you don’t love them, please don’t hurt them”. She is right of course.
It’ll be a long journey towards better animal welfare in China but it could start with a properly enacted statute protecting animals. All they have to do is take the UK’s Animal Welfare Act 2006, translate it into Chinese and modify it slightly to accommodate their culture and their country and voilà you have a decent bit of legislation which will save many thousands of cats and dogs and other animals from abuse and death.
There is one obstacle, a big one. There are probably many but one is the cat and dog meat markets in the south of the country. Everything that happens at these markets is contrary to animal welfare and therefore a new animal welfare act in the country would effectively closedown the cat and dog meat markets at a stroke. The government wouldn’t want that to happen. They would have to water down the legislation which would probably make it ineffective. The cat and dog fur trade is equally brutal. China is the biggest exporter of cat and dog fur. I’m afraid that a lack of animal welfare laws for thousands of years has created deep-rooted issues which are very hard to stop. The ramifications of animal welfare legislation in China would be immense. It would strike at all parts of their culture which is why the government is reluctant to create it.
Here is a Daily Mail video of the incident which you can see if you have the patience to wade through the advertisements. Over time some videos stop working, please note. I can’t control this.