China’s Barbaric Cruelty to Animals
This troubling and shocking article has been written as an exclusive for VFR. It could be subtitled: A Dog’s View of Multicultural Relativism.
by Spencer Warren
China, despite its economic reforms and rapid growth, remains a brutal Communist tyranny. As visiting President Hu Jintao smiles with President Bush for our cameras in the U.S. this week, we must not forget the student dead of Tiananmen Square; the imprisoned and tortured political dissenters, Christians and members of the Falun Gong sect; the slave laborers and child laborers whose work is sold in Wal-Mart; the fetuses aborted at nine months because they have Down’s Syndrome or other diseases; and the people of Tibet, whose country has been raped for almost four decades.
Hu and his party prefer to be identified more with their cheap products sold in Wal-Mart than with their cruelty, which they largely manage to hide from outside view. But one aspect of the cruelty of their country—supported and encouraged by the regime—is open to view. It involves animals, but it also gives us a “taste” of the brutality inflicted on the human victims. Many readers may be aware that dogs and cats are eaten in China. However, dogs and cats are not only consumed or killed for their fur,—an estimated 10 million each year, according to the Hong Kong humane group Animals Asia—they are slowly tortured, bled or beaten to death, or butchered or boiled alive, in the belief the more they suffer the better they “taste.” German shepherds have been seen being skinned alive in a frigid warehouse in Harbin. The fur is sold in Europe for use—with false labels—in clothing, e.g. on hoods of winter coats, some sold in this country due to a loophole in U.S. law which would be closed by a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). Ironically, China this year is celebrating “The Year of the Dog.”
These practices, which have arisen mainly in the past few decades and, says Animals Asia, are not endemic to Chinese culture, go on with the knowledge and in some areas with the active support of the government. They are growing rapidly into a large industry in many areas, including Guangzhou, Hubei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin. Dog meat is sold in cans and vacuum packs in growing numbers of supermarkets in China. (Does Wal-Mart, now operating and expanding in China, sell dog meat there?)
Another humane group website, the Asian Animals Protection Network, has photographs of men thrusting knives into the necks of fully conscious dogs, then hanging them on an incline as their blood runs out. Others show people gathered at a roadside with dogs tied to a truck or railroad tracks. As man’s best friend cries out, and as the next victims look on, petrified, several men (or women) are seen holding him and another cuts his chest open and butchers him on the spot. Mangled corpses are all around.
The dogs and cats are raised on huge “farms” in extremely crowded and filthy conditions that would result in the farms being shut down for animal cruelty crimes in any civilized country. Some import giant, gentle breeds like St. Bernards, the beloved rescue dogs. These are cross- bred with local dogs to produce a fast growing “meat dog” that can be killed at four months of age. The dogs’ journey from “farm” to market is worse. Animals Asia investigators have observed trucks carrying up to 2000 dogs each arriving at a notorious market in Guangzhou. They have endured three days and nights wedged on top of each other in cages, deprived of food and water. Large numbers of dead and sick dogs and cats have been observed lying beside the cages at the market. The ones still alive are brutally lifted by the neck and flung into a pen by a man using metal tongs. Other investigators have witnessed dogs tied in nets being dumped from trucks, some crying as their feet are broken; then they are flung with the tongs into fenced areas where laughing men bludgeon them just for kicks. Cats are slowly bled to death on curbs as the expectant diners look on. (See story here.)
China is not alone. Though human eating of dog and cat meat has been outlawed in some Asian countries, such as Taiwan and the Philippines (not cats), as well as Hong Kong, South Korea is on the same beastly level as China. According to the Korea Animal Protection Society, millions of dogs and hundreds of thousands of cats each year are tortured to death for a dog-stew or a cat juice that many believe offer mythical health benefits—provided the victims suffer enough. Dogs are strangled to death, often from trees, for up to an hour, or bludgeoned to death with pipes or hammers, then blowtorched. Cats are boiled alive or beaten to death in sacks pounded into the ground. (see this and this).
Like East Asians, we eat livestock, poultry, and fish. But we have laws and moral norms against deliberate cruelty, even if there are many abuses. China’s widespread, primitive cruelty makes one shudder at the fate of its human victims. Just as cruelty toward animals has been found by criminologists in this country often to precede violence against humans, China’s rampant, mindless cruelty toward man’s best friend, and toward his best feline friend, sheds light on its cruelty toward its own people, and those of Tibet. It is a further indication that the decision of the International Olympics Committee to hold the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing ranks with its infamous decisions to hold the 1936 games in Hitler’s Berlin and the 1980 games in Communist Moscow. The participating athletes, now eagerly training for their place in the sun, ought to review China’s human rights record. While there may not be many photos, they can look at the photos linked in this article, and think twice about what they eat if they decide to lend themselves, body and soul, to this still primitive, tyrannical country’s propaganda extravaganza.
Spencer Warren, formerly counsel to two congressmen and a senator, is president of the Insider’s Washington Experience, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy seminar.