Chinese Government

50,000 dogs ordered to be massacred

Beijing, China   Yunnan Province Mouding County

April 29, 2006

After three people died from rabies, a government campaign was put into movement ordering as many as 50,000 dogs be killed in a county in southwestern China.

The five-day massacre in Yunnan Province’s Mouding County spared only military guard dogs and police canine units.  Dogs being walked by their owners were taken and beaten on the spot. Other killing teams entered villages at night creating noise to get the dogs barking. Upon finding them, they were beaten to death.  Dog owners were offered 63 centers per animal to kill their dogs before the teams were sent in.

This massacre has been widely discussed on the Internet with both legal scholars and animal rights activists criticizing it as crude and cold-blooded.  The World Health Organization stated more emphasis needs to be placed on prevention.  Dr. Francette Dusan, a WHO expert on diseases passed from animals to humans stated effective rabies control requires coordinated efforts between human and animal health agencies and authorities. She also stated that this has not been pursued adequately to date in China with most control efforts consisting of purely reactive dog culls.

       

    

    

The Shanghai Daily reported 360 of Mouding county’s 200,000 residents suffered dog bites this year. The three rabies victims included a 4-year old girl.  Li Haibo, a spokesman for the county government was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying ‘With the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs’.

Based on the last year for which data was available, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China has seen a major rise in the number of rabies cases, with 2,651 reported deaths from the disease.  Experts have linked the rise in part to an increase in dog ownership – particularly in rural areas where approximately 70 percent of households keep dogs.  Only about 3 percent of Chinese dogs are vaccinated against rabies, according to CCDCP. Access to appropriate treatment is highly limited, especially in the countryside.

        (Photo courtesy of Associated Press) 

Officials club a dog to death in Luoping county in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

   (Photo courtesy of Associated Press) 

Officials throw a dog they clubbed to death onto a collection truck in Luoping County.

  (Photo courtesy of Associated Press and BBC News) 

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