Life has been crazy busy this last week! We went to an organic farm, which was incredible. I will talk about that in the next post, for now I am going to talk about the trip to the pet market. Do you like how I give a small taste of what is to come, trying to lure you into reading my future blogs? That is my master plan after all 🙂 All jokes aside, the pet market blew my mind and not in a good way.
Sarah, Valerie, Caroline and myself walked through the fish market first while we waited for Alex to arrive so we could all walk through the pet market together. The fish market made me want to vomit, for various reasons. There were so many animals being held in ridiculous quantities in terrible make shift cages. The most memorable was a bowl packed full of turtles with a net over the top and a turtle was reaching through the net trying to escape, he got his head stuck in the netting. It was awful. I realized walking into the fish market that I could not control my face. Normally I have the ability to hold a straight face but that was not the case this day. I felt like my brow was furrowed the entire time. Once Alex arrived we went to the pet market, which I was nervous for. I almost started crying after seeing the living situations of the fish and other aquatic animals, so I didn’t know what to expect.
The first few shops sold fish. As we walked further down the street we began to see stores with smaller animals. One particular store had puppies in cages. I could see each one of them displaying calming signals such as: tongue flicking, panting, and shaking. I walked in and saw these calming signals and immediately walked out. I in no way wanted to exacerbate the situation and add to the unneeded stress these puppies were experiencing. A few shops later I saw a hamster cage with at least 10 puppies crammed inside, and other cages with multiple kittens crammed in there. For one, it is very hot and humid in Chengdu and these poor animals are crammed into this tiny space where they can’t move. It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous. I had to walk away immediately. My heart was breaking, especially because I kept thinking of my Elliot (shih tzu puppy). It was really hard. We went inside the market and found huge bins full of turtles of all different sizes filling these bins. Most looked dead, not sure from starvation, being crushed, or the heat. It was hard to witness the complete disregard for animal life. We wandered through the different levels and saw some gorgeous cats. I saw some of the cutest puppies. I wanted to take them home with me. They were little white fluff balls and they reminded me of my childhood dog. The experience was very eye opening. I know that this happens in the United States. In fact millions of animals die every 3-6 months from the pet-trade in the US. This is not okay, and society needs to be educated about this issue.
Sarah informed us that the animals we saw would all be dead within a few weeks. These animals die from neglect, abandonment or selling to a restaurant. That was hard to hear. The puppies were so cute and playful, I cannot fathom the fact that they will be dead so soon. This problem seems so big, how do we fix it? What can I personally do and what can society do to change this. It is common knowledge that the animal won’t live long, why are so many people accepting of that sadness? This makes me think of the Five Freedoms I learned about in my animal-assisted class. Animals should have the freedom from pain, injury, and disease, hunger and thirst, fear and distress, and discomfort. They also should be free to express normal animal behavior. The animals in the pet market were definitely not being afforded these freedoms.
I’m going to take the blog to a funny and interesting place now. I saw Jurassic World a few days after the pet market, so I thought of it often throughout the movie. Yes, I am about to compare Jurassic World and the pet market, brace yourself. While watching Jurassic World I had an overwhelming feeling of how arrogant humans can be. I have the right to create new animals, and I have the right to use a dinosaur as a weapon in war. I relate it to I have the right to shove tiny puppies and kittens in a small cage in the hot heat because I will profit from it, and if they die…well I’ll go get another one to sell.I also have the right to breed a hairless cat or a cat to look like a cheetah so I can make more money.
Humans are interesting creatures. We believe that we know everything and also that everything in the world should benefit us personally. I don’t know when/how humanity came to this way of life, but I am not okay with it. I do not know how to end this travesty, but I can promise you I will fight for animal welfare until the day I die. Something has to change, and it will.
Side note: I did not take very many pictures at the pet market. I was worried about adding stress to the animals, so I only took pictures of the two sleeping cats. I tossed in a picture of Elliot and Indominus Rex to add some smiles into this post.