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Tories ‘seek clarification’ on Chinese dog cull

DOG LOVERS around the world have been outraged at the Chinese Government’s mass cull of dogs – many of them healthy family pets – under the guise of a crackdown on rabies.

As reported previously, soldiers and local officials have been rounding up as many dogs - strays and pets alike – that they can seize and cruelly bludgeoning them to death. The official reason given for the cull was to crack down on potential rabies carriers, but many of the dogs are fully registered and vaccinated family pets.

Chinese dog owners are living in fear of their dogs being seized and killed, and many have moved their dogs away to secret locations to prevent them from being taken. Last month, a mass demonstration was staged by hundreds of angry dog owners was held in Tianammen Square in the capital city, Beijing, protesting against the cull.

Whilst many animal welfare organisations in the UK, including Dogs Trust and the RSPCA have lodged protests with the Chinese Government, there has been no formal protest from the British Government.

However, the Conservative Party has become involved to a small extent, largely thanks to the efforts of Suzy Gale of the new charity Animals Worldwide and her husband Roger Gale MP, via Conservative Animal Welfare. At their behest, Peter Ainsworth, Opposition Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA has sent a letter to the Chinese Ambassador in London.

However, Mr Ainsworth’s letter could hardly be termed a robust protest at the cull and the barbaric methods used of killing the dogs. Although it ‘seeks clarification’ and suggests more humane methods of culling and alternative methods to the cull, it is hardly likely to have Beijing trembling in the face of British condemnation.

That said, at least one British political party is showing its awareness and concern regarding the issue – something woefully lacking elsewhere in the political establishment.

Mr Ainsworth’s letter reads:

‘I have recently been approached regarding animal welfare matters in China specifically relating to the preparations for the 2008 Olympics.

‘I am told that the Chinese Government has recently embarked upon a policy of culling pet dogs in an attempt to halt the spread of rabies. Whilst I appreciate that the Chinese Government has to make decisions based on the need to protect its citizens, concerns have been expressed about the manner in these animals are destroyed. It would be helpful therefore if you would provide me with a clarification of the Chinese Government’s policy in this area and provide with reassurance that, where culls must take place, the animals concerned are dispatched in a quick and humane manner. It would be helpful if you would provide me with information on the approved method for dispatching animals in these circumstances.

‘I would also be grateful to know what regard the Chinese Government gave to alternative solutions, in particular the use of vaccination programmes, humane muzzles and education programmes to encourage responsible pet ownership.’

* If you wish to protest against the Chinese Government’s dog cull, please write to the Chinese Ambassador to Great Britain:

Ambassador Zha Peixin, Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL E-mail: press@chinese-embassy.org.uk

The following website gives a great deal of information relating to the Chinese dog cull. But be warned – it contains many graphic images of dead dogs and dogs being killed:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/213855