Animal rights and welfare in China are faced with similar challenges in comparison to other countries around the world. Animals have long been at the brutal hands of humans world-wide, wherein their well being is generally treated as obsolete. With China’s growing affluence, the treatment of animals reflects a combination between the old China (where animals struggle along side human for adequate food and shelter), to a modern China (where factory farms and and commercial animal production is the norm).
While in China, we were faced with many blatant animals cruelties that are typically hidden from public view in America. While doing the nature camps in small rural villages, such as Mabien, street side animal slaughter was an everyday event, and the disregard to even cats and dogs was common. Beautiful and innocent creatures were often chained with little room to move, caged with no protection of the hot sun, and most likely never allowed to satisfy key needs, such as play and exploration.
Even within cities, such as Chengdu, homeless dogs and cats are apart of everyday street fair. Brutal solutions to the growing numbers of homeless cats and dogs being lethal beatings, typically using clubs or other blunt objects. Within the city limits, guards and other governmental officials, are given 100 RMB (about 15 US dollars) if they bring in a cut off tail of a dog, indicating that they are responsible for the animal’s death. Instead of pro-active approach, such as spay/neuter, animal cruelty seems to be the wide-spread solution.
The Love Home, one of the only animals shelters in Chengdu, is providing a model for animal welfare and rights in China. This shelter provides a home for dogs and cats, most of which have been rescued from meat markets. While volunteering at this shelter, we met many compassionate people that are very devoted to advocating for the humane treatment of all animals. Many of volunteers come in weekly to groom the dogs, do feeding and clean up duties, and many other jobs that are necessary to take care of the animals at this shelter.
Other organizations, like The Love Home, are working tirelessly to create a bright future for animals in China. While in China, we felt very fortunate and honored to meet the dedicated individuals that are creating solutions to these difficult issues.