Culture

Why are many Chinese opposed to legislating for animal protection?

In fact, radical animal rights activists in China have failed to achieve their goals except to unite those who oppose animal rights.

A month ago, a terrible cat abuse case occurred in China.

A security guard in Taiyuan, Shandong Province, China, scalded a pregnant cat to death with boiling water because the cat scratched him. The case caused an uproar in China. Even CCTV, China’s most authoritative TV station, has joined in the criticism of the abuser.

When the security guard was fired, his identity and address were revealed, and many people went to harass him.

What’s on weibo reported on the matter in detail and mentioned that it could have a positive impact on China’s relevant legislation.

This is a terrible event, but the situation of animal protection law in China is not so optimistic.

If you really search Weibo carefully, you will find that many people in China do not support legislation on animal protection. What’s more, they oppose legislative action on the theme of “animal protection”.

If you really search Weibo carefully, you will find that many people in China do not support legislation on animal protection. What’s more, they oppose all legislative actions on the theme of “animal protection”.

Is this because they hate animals? Not really.

In fact, these people are only against “animal rights radicals”, and animals are just the victims of this opposition.

Let’s talk about it in detail.

Shenzhen’s “no dog meat” policy has caused a huge controversy on Weibo

In early 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities in China have begun to formulate their regulations on wildlife and meat.

Among them, Shenzhen’s rules caused the most serious controversy on weibo because it “forbids eating dog meat.”

News related to the ban has been forwarded 10,000 times on Weibo, but unlike what you might expect, nearly half of the people are against it. Even many Chinese influencers have been involved in the criticism of the ban.

In a Weibo poll conducted by Phoenix New Media, more than 36,000 people supported Shenzhen’s ban on dog meat and 23,000 opposed it. Another 7189 people chose “unable to express”.

Please put aside your stereotype and let us explain it in detail. There are two facts about “eating dog meat”:

  1. It is true that Chinese people in some areas like to eat dog meat, but not all Chinese like to eat dog meat.
  2. Those Chinese who like to eat dog meat are not because of barbarism or hunger. Dogs have always been part of the menu in those areas for years.

In the overseas rumors about “Chinese eat dog meat”, it is always linked with “backward”, “barbaric” and “crazy”. But this is not the case.

As an animal that is not suitable for large-scale breeding, dogs are “fine food” even in areas where they have the habit of eating dog meat. The ancient Chinese in those areas did not eat dog meat because of famine- on the contrary, they studied how to make dog meat a more delicious food, just as they studied how to cook turkey, salmon and beef more delicious.

A Weibo influencer with 6.64 million followers forwarded Shenzhen’s ban and commented: Can’t the shameless Shenzhen (city manager) see the insults from netizens? Pigs, cattle and sheep are also closer to humans, so why not avoid being eaten? Modern civilization forbids dog meat? Bullshit! Dog meat is banned in only a few countries and regions in the world. Lighthouse of Democracy Switzerland insists on eating dogs openly, and the United States does not ban the consumption of dog meat. Shenzhen’s management of stray dogs is counted down in all Chinese cities, so how dare you forbid eating dogs? “

Historically, these areas have formed a “pathetic” food chain in their long years of life by today’s mainstream moral standards – “dog meat is acceptable”. But in these areas, other animals may be domesticated into pets, such as snakes and rabbits.

You can’t scold others for being backward and barbaric just because their historical habits are different from yours. Otherwise, it would be almost indistinguishable from the Nazis.

More coincidentally, many areas that are used to eating dog meat do not happen to be Han Chinese inhabited areas in China. You may have heard that three provinces in northeast China and Guangxi Province in southwest China all have the habit of eating dog meat.

The Korean people in northeast China and the Zhuang people in southwest China have regarded dog meat as a special food or holiday food since ancient times, and it is immoral to ban them from eating dog meat.

Here, “respect for different races” and “respect for different lives” seem to be a paradox. This paradox was reported by The New York Times in 2015.

China’s radical animal rights activists have always stressed the moral flaws of these diners, prompting previously unrelated groups to fight back: they promote dog meat recipes and open dog meat restaurants in other areas. spread the news of “dogs attacking people” and so on.

To some extent, this increases the popularity of dogs as a kind of food.

Hypocrisy: Chinese animal rights activists make animal protection a business

There is a macro criticism of animal conservationists on the Chinese Internet that animal conservationists are hypocritical.

This is true to some extent. On the Chinese Internet, animal rights activists often protect animals out of their own interests.

Sometimes, animal rights activists do the exact opposite of animal protection.

In 2016, a Shanghai-based “non-profit organization” dedicated to animal protection posted a post on Weibo commemorating the drowning of a puppy. In the photo, they show a copywriter:

All life should be treated with kindness. Remember the fate of a dog, and also hope that we still remember the goodness of human beings.

It sounds great, except for a roast chicken in the picture as a sacrifice for the dead puppy. Obviously, the chicken does not seem to be a life that should be treated with kindness.

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Yes, if you are the owner of a cat or dog, you will certainly feed your pet with the meat of other animals, which is understandable. But you can’t use the meat of other animals to feed pets while declaring that “all animals should be treated well.” This is a precise definition of hypocrisy, and many animal rights activists in China do.

On Weibo, there is an account called “Voice of Animal Protection Asia“, which constantly shares “satirical news” about animal rights activists infringing on other animals and public rights for the rights of one animal. The account has 210,000 followers and has more than 10 million views per month.

Animal protection in China, especially the protection of dogs has formed a secret industrial chain. Professional animal rights activists make money by raising from public, or robbing dogs that were originally used for food to be sold as pets.

As we mentioned earlier, dog meat is one of the classics on the menu in many parts of China. This means that there are dog meat farms in China. In these farms, dogs used exclusively for food spend their short lives and then transported to slaughterhouses to become human food.

It sounds cruel, but it’s legal. The act of forcibly intercepting these transporters and releasing the dogs without paying any compensation, though seemingly noble, is illegal.

In many cases in the past, professional animal rights activists snatched the dogs from farms and sold them to people who wanted to keep pets, supported by donations from other amateur animal conservationists. So in fact, they become pet dealers with no cost, snatching puppies from others for sale.

In some extreme cases, transporters hurt themselves because cargos were robbed.

It is true that this keeps many dogs from becoming dishes on people’s tables, but it is absolutely illegal.

Even in cases where dogs are rescued by buying at a low price, it leads to another problem: Since there might be hundreds of dogs on a transport vehicle, the dogs could not find a suitable owner in a short period of time, and many of them will eventually be released directly where they are stopped.

This has significantly increased the number of wild dogs in some Chinese cities, turning more ordinary people into “dog haters”.

Immoral pet owner

Although animal rights activists are often bathed in moral light, yet in reality, not every pet owner does always have good morality.

Keeping a dog in the big city is actually a very troublesome thing. Dog owners need to go out and walk their dogs every day, no matter how busy their work and life are. For some of them, they even need to walk their dogs twice a day.

Because of fatigue, many Chinese dog owners do not want to hold a rope when walking their dogs in the city streets. This means that they allow their dogs to play freely in their sight.

This has two consequences:

  1. Pet dogs defecate in unexpected places.
  2. It may cause harm to children or those who suffer from “zoophobia”.

You will find that many motor vehicles parked on the side of the road in China will put a plastic or wooden board on their tires. Its purpose is to prevent dogs from peeing on tires. Dog shit is also very common in the grass of Chinese communities.

In addition, the amount of rabies vaccination in China has always been the highest in the world. Although this is partly due to excessive medical treatment, in any case, the premise for a person to be vaccinated against rabies must be that he has been attacked by an animal.

The culmination of the conflict was an attack in 2018. While walking the dog, a couple was attacked by another unleashed pet dog. When they tried to stop the unleashed dog, the dog’s owner joined the attack, causing the female victim to have a threatened miscarriage.

This has raised the conflict between people who do not like dogs and immoral dog owners to a whole new level.

In the same year, a medication called isoniazid entered the eyes of the Chinese public. Isoniazid is an antibiotic against tuberculosis, but it has another effect in Chinese folk-killing the unleashed dogs.

Dog slayer grinds isoniazid into powder, mixes it into sausages and discards it on the corners of communities and city streets.

This medication is colorless and tasteless and does little harm to the human body. But once eaten by a dog, it will be killed within 15 minutes. Since it is not toxic to humans, this will not be regarded as “poisoning” and cause legal problems.

In a short time, sausages mixed with isoniazid powder began to appear in major cities in China. And on the Internet, “Dog Slayer” is praised as an “anonymous hero”. Except for a few pet owners, most netizens are applauding these dog killers.

People have given this tuberculosis drug a new name, “Dogs go extinct immediately“(狗立停).

In 2018, a Chinese influencer displayed chats from dog owners who warned each other to use leashes to prevent their dogs from swallowing “isoniazid” while loitering. The influencer wrote for the chat records: you see, isoniazid really forces dog owners to learn to be civilized.

Although some lawyers claim that this is still illegal, but it is a grey area because the absence of an animal abuse law. In fact, no one has been arrested for using isoniazid to poison dogs.

In November 2018, China Youth Daily, China’s official media, had to write an article entitled “the source of dog trouble is not dogs, but people“, to ease the conflict between the public and dog owners. “Most people’s aversion to dogs stems from their aversion to immoral dog owners,” the article wrote.

In spite of this, there have been sporadic cases of poisoning pet dogs across China in the next two years. Because in fact, immoral dog owners never really disappear.

Harbin in Heilongjiang Province even issued a rare “dog disaster alert” in the autumn of 2020. According to the alert, 60,000 rabies vaccines had been consumed in the region by the end of October 2020. The consumption of the rabies vaccine in the region was only 5,000 in 2017.

Stray dogs were caught on a large scale in almost every major city in China at the beginning of the 21 century. This means that the new stray dogs in Chinese cities now mainly come from the abandonment of their owners and those rescued from transporters by animal rights activists.

It is conceivable that if you did not love or hate dogs before. But if you are chased by dogs in the city all day, you will naturally begin to hate dogs.

Cats are under another situation

You may have noticed that cats seem to be absent from most of the above arguments about “anti-animal protectionism”.

Because as a matter of fact, the Chinese public is basically only disgusted with dog rights activists.

In China, most pet cats in big cities are not allowed to go out. Because residential areas in Chinese big cities are often very crowded, most of the population lives in towering apartments. If you open the window and let your cat go out to play, there is a good chance that it will fall to its death.

On the other hand, unlike stray dogs, feral cats tend not to attack humans or significantly dirty the streets. It’s easy to understand that most feral cats don’t want to go near humans. And as everyone knows, cats bury their poops.

From a scientific point of view, cats can still cause problems. Wild cats kill birds or other small animals for play, further damaging fragile urban ecosystems.

In addition, cat owners living in low-rise apartments open windows to allow their cats to enter and leave freely, allowing their cats to enter the dirtiest corners of the city (and even sewers) with local feral cats. This makes the infectious significance of some cats similar to that of mice.

But in any case, because cats, whether domestic or wild, never disturb those who do not feed them, hence the anger of Chinese towards cats is far less than that of dogs.

Some animal protection organizations in China are committed to trapping wild cats and then neutering them free of charge. And these animal protection groups never take radical action (such as intercepting transport vehicles, or calling for legislation), so their reputation is much better than others.

In addition, cat activists are committed to reducing the pet cat trade. Unlike dog rights activists, they have been working for years to give away neutered stray cats for free. Moreover, most of them do not rely on fund-raising to maintain their activities.

Cat rights activists are as far away from the crowd as cats, quietly repairing the negative consequences that cats may have on the city’s ecology, so few people hate them, just as few people hate cats.

Some radical cat rights activists have also angered local residents. But this situation is more similar to “the cat lady” in western society, they simply raise too many cats, affecting the lives of neighbors. It’s not the case with dog rights activists.


Generally speaking, you will find that the reason why many Chinese oppose animal legislation is not that they hate animals or that they are animal abusers. They hate tiresome pet owners or people who want to use animal protection laws to make a profit for themselves.

In the view of these people, China no longer needs legislation to protect animal rights, because animal rights have taken precedence over many human beings.

This is clearly a reverse illusion created by radical animal rights activists, but it does further divide public opinion.

In China, animal protection organizations dedicated to protecting cats seem to have exactly the character of cats-quiet, patient and intelligent. Animal protection groups dedicated to protecting dogs do the opposite-active and barking.

An interesting fact is that after some “cat abuse” incidents, those who quote the news and shout “should be legislated to protect animals” are in fact animal rights activists only interested in dogs. Apart from promoting legislation for animal protection, they almost never care about cats.

To some extent, the dog people angered the public, forcing the “silent majority” who did not have many opinions on animal rights to speak out, in the opposite direction. This has made China’s opposition to legislation on animal protection becoming increasingly stronger.

In fact, China’s Animal Abuse Laws are not upcoming. On the contrary, unless it gives priority to restricts the behavior of pet owners rather than others, there may never be such a law.

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