Pet ownership surging in China but still no general animal welfare law!

It is astonishing to report that China’s government still refuses to countenance the possibility of introducing animal welfare legislation despite the conclusion from the 2020 Pet Industry Report that the number of pet owners in China have increased from 73.15 million in 2017 to 99.15 million in 2019. It is projected that there will be over 300 million cats and dogs in the country as pets in 2020 (Euromonitor International).

Cat Meat Trade China
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Cat Meat Trade China. Image: PoC.


To an outsider it seems that Chinese society is schizophrenic. On the one hand there are a 100 million loved cats and dogs and on the other they eat them in the south of the country. It is untenable. Cat and dog meat is still big business in parts of China. And what’s worse is the bloody fur trade: total barbaric brutality. See it in images and never forget it. Wonder how it can happen in 2020. The animal cruelty is unimaginable. And yet, 200 miles away or perhaps down the road there is a loving cat and dog owner cuddling their pets. Schizoid, I’d say.

Chinese cat models earn more than human models. Take Mao Mao, a deliciously attractive fawn coloured British Shorthair. His face sells cars. I am told that Mao Mao translates to ‘Fuzzy Fuzzy’ but is that correct? Mao is Chinese for ‘cat’ and it always has been. Mao Mao earns up to £1,650 per session for modelling jobs involving the promotion of car manufacturers at car shows.

It is reported that 34 percent of Chinese in China have pets to relieve loneliness. Covid-19 has spurred on pet ownership and migration to big cities has encouraged it too.

The Telegraph online newspaper reports that ‘China has long cherished cats, which have been the focus of annual worship in previous dynasties’. Clearly worshipping cats does not prevent cat cruelty. It reminds me of the ancient Egyptians who we are constantly told worshipped cats in the golden age of cat ownership. They fail to remember that hundreds of thousands of kittens were bred for sacrifice and brutally killed for that purpose. Worship?

The reason why China are so intransigent in enacting animal welfare legislation is because there is so much animal cruelty in the country it would be catastrophic on the first day the law came into force.

The police would have to arrest and imprison millions of people for animal cruelty. It has gone too far. But if China is to genuinely enter the 21st century as a country equal to those in Europe and America they have to have animal welfare laws. It can’t be ignored.

Cat horrors. Chinese meat festival

Cat horrors. Chinese meat festival. Something out of a horror movie. Photo in public domain.

If a country treats animals as non-sentient creatures which you have to do if you use pets as objects to be brutally killed (not slaughtered as per abattoir rules in the West) and eaten or stripped of their skins while alive, it can’t begin to be civilised. Not that I am saying any country is truly civilised but China lags behind.

If readers think I am exaggerating, they should go online and research cat and dog meat and the fur industry in China. See some images or videos. Don’t eat dinner at the same time though! And be prepared to be haunted by the images for the remainder of your life.

A story from 28th Oct 2020 in Totally Vegan Buzz illustrates the issues. It starts by saying: “Without a law, abusers will think it’s no big deal, as they are just animals — mindless, like commodities”. Bloody hell, YES. A video was published on the internet of a man pouring boiling water over a pregnant cat in plain daylight with bystanders watching because she stole his f**k**g sausages. She was probably starving. He was detained by the police. WOW, that surprises me. But they admitted that he won’t be punished ‘much’ or at all. The cat died of her injuries and her unborn kittens.

Cats rescued from lorry on the way to cat meat market

Cats rescued from lorry on the way to cat meat market

A volunteer with the Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association, Zhang Bei, said that videos of people torturing animals are regularly uploaded to China’s social media sites with impunity. She said: “Without legislation, as bystanders, there is no way for us to really dissuade them, and they will not be punished.”

At the beginning of the Covid pandemic some Chinese threw their pets from high rise apartments to their deaths without any arrests or prosecutions. It was entirely legal and accepted.

Some Chinese citizens understand the desperate need for animal welfare laws. They sometimes take steps to embarrass animal abusers by, for example, sending threatening letters. But this is nowhere near enough. It is entirely inadequate despite the good intentions.

Animals Asia, a charity, say that animals in Asia are among the most abused in the world. Bile bears are huge stain on the nation: gross and sick cruelty for what? Some mumbo jumbo medicine made from bear bile. Give me a break!

Cat meat packaged in cellophane at a supermarket

Cat meat packaged in cellophane at a supermarket in Vietnam? Pic in public domain.

Wikipedia states: “There are currently no nationwide laws in China that explicitly prohibit the mistreatment of animals. However, the World Animal Protection notes that some legislation protecting the welfare of animals exists in certain contexts, especially ones used in research and in zoos”. Big deal! It is frankly pathetic.

There must come a time when the pet owners of China lobby the government for change. They will see animal abuse and hopefully be disgusted by it. You can’t love cats and dogs and accept cat and dog meat and the cat and dog fur trade at the same time. If you do you are schizophrenic.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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