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Olympic Clean-up Chinese Style: Beijings Shocking Cat Death Camps

Thousands of pet cats in Beijing were abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounted their aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Hundreds of cats a day were being rounded and crammed into cages so small they couldn’t even turn around.

Then they were trucked to what animal welfare groups described as death camps on the edges of the city.

The cull comes in the wake of a government campaign warning of the diseases cats carry and ordering residents to help clear the streets of them. (How convenient that it should come at this time).

Doomed: Terrified cats crammed tightly into cages are hauled off to a meat market in Guangzhou

cat prison

Cat owners, terrified by the disease warning, were dumping their pets in the streets to be picked up by special collection teams.

Paranoia was so intense that six stray cats -including two pregnant females – were beaten to death with sticks by teachers at a Beijing kindergarten, who feared they might pass illnesses to the children. Makes you wonder what else goes on in those schools, doesn’t it?

China’s leaders say they are convinced that animals pose a serious urban health risk and may have contributed to the outbreak of SARS – a deadly respiratory virus back in 2003, or at they least are giving that impression.

But the crackdown on cats is seen by animal campaigners as just one of a number of extreme measures being taken by communist leaders to ensure that its capital appears clean, green and welcoming during the Olympics.

Secretive: The compound at Da Niu Fang which is patrolled by security guards

cat prison

Polluting factories in and around the city are being ordered to shut down or relocate during the Games to ease Beijing’s choking smog and drivers are allowed out on to the roads only three times a week, and as we know people’s driving has been curtailed since this article was originally written.

Fares on the city’s underground network have been cut to just two yuan (14p) for any journey – a six-fold reduction on some routes – to keep people off buses, and beggars and street sleepers have been moved to out-of-town camps or given train fares back to their home provinces.

Meanwhile, taxi drivers have been made to attend lessons in how to greet passengers politely in English and a city-wide courtesy campaign has been launched to teach Beijing’s notoriously dour and grumpy citizens how to smile and be pleasant to foreigners.

The cull of Beijing’s estimated 500,000 cat population is certain to provoke international outrage coming just over a year after the Chinese were criticised for rounding up and killing stray dogs across the country.

Refuge: Campaigner Hu Yuan, 80, with some of the 250 cats she has taken in at her Beijing home

cat prison

Animal welfare groups in China are already protesting, but their members fear punishment from the authorities.

Officials say people can adopt animals from the 12 cat pounds set up around the city, but welfare groups have said they are almost impossible to get inside and believe few cats survive.

One cat lovers’ group negotiated the release of 30 pets from one of the compounds in Shahe, north-west Beijing, but said they were in such a pitiful condition that half of them died within days of their release.

“These cats are being left to die. It is very inhumane,” said the group’s founder Yan Qi, who runs a sanctuary for cats.

A rescued pet showing clear signs of disease…

cat prison

“People don’t want to keep cats in Beijing any more so they abandon them or send them to the compounds.

“When we went inside, we saw about 70 cats being kept in cages stacked one on top of the other in two tiny rooms.

“Disease spreads quickly among them and they die slowly in agony and distress. The government won’t even do the cats the kindness of giving them lethal injections when they become sick. They just wait for them to die.

“It is the abandoned pets that suffer the most and die the soonest. They relied so much on their owners that they can’t cope with the new environment.

“Most refuse to eat or drink and get sick more quickly than the feral cats.”

Ms. Yan’s group has now been denied access to the pounds. “We do not believe any of the cats that go in there survive,” she said. “They are like death camps.”

Ms. Yan said there was another reason for people abandoning their cats – the 200 yuan (£14) fee they face if they want to have their pets neutered and tagged.

“We have tried to negotiate with the government to stop the round-ups and to introduce cut-price neutering services so that people can afford to keep their pets but they won’t listen to us,” she said.

“They are not thinking about the cats. They just want to get results in the quickest way possible, by clearing as many cats from the city as they can.”

Retired doctor Hu Yuan, 80, runs one of the few remaining refuges for abandoned pets in her ramshackle home in the ancient Long Tou Jing area of Beijing.

She shares her tiny home with 250 abandoned cats and has taken in 70 over the past 12 months alone.

She pays for neutering and food from her pension and donations. She said: “If I don’t take them in, the government will kill them.

“People believe what the government tells them and that is why they are abandoning more and more family pets.”

She said the problem could be traced back to former president Jiang Zemin for the crackdown.

“He didn’t like dogs so he decided to have dogs killed. But there was a bad reaction from the foreign media and they were pressured to stop.

“Now they have stopped killing dogs but the new victims are cats. It is all connected to the Olympics.”

Cats are regularly dumped on her doorstep late at night by owners frightened by the government campaign.

“The situation is very bad now,” said Ms Hu. “When women get pregnant, the doctor will ask them if they have a cat in the house.

“If they reply Yes, they tell them, ‘You must get rid of it, it will be bad for the baby’.

“I keep all the cats in my house and 100 of them sleep in my bedroom at night. I am too frightened to let them out. If they go outside, they will be taken away and killed.

“The government is not telling people the truth. Look at me. I live with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I am very healthy.”

The round-up has been particularly intense in areas around Olympic venues and in streets and alleys surrounding five-star hotels where guests will stay during the summer games.

Despite the health warnings, the round-up of cats has led to a surge in the number of restaurants in the capital serving cat meat, according to Ms Hu.

She said hundreds of cats were also being sent to Guangzhou in southern China, an area infamous for restaurants that serve meat from cats and dogs and exotic animals such as snakes and tigers.

It was in July last year that district officials were instructed to begin an intense round-up of cats as part of Beijing’s pre-Olympics clean-up. Now notices have been put up urging residents to hand in cats.

Welfare groups estimate that tens of thousands have been collected in the past few months.

The Mail went to the cat pound in Shahe on the north-western fringes of Beijing but we were repeatedly refused admission.

“No one can come in without official papers,” staff shouted from behind padlocked steel gates.

At another, larger compound in Da Niu Fang village, the sound of cats wailing could be clearly heard coming from a cluster of tin-roofed sheds, but workers denied they were holding any cats.

“There are no cats here, go away. No one is allowed inside unless you have official permission,” a security guard said.

The killing of the six stray cats at the kindergarten – where staff at a Beijing cigarette factory leave their children – is the most striking illustration of the city-wide fear of cats.

A teacher at the nursery said: “We did it out of love for the children. We were worried the cats might harm them. These six cats had been hanging around the kindergarten looking for food. (Certainly not the kind of people I’d want watching my children!)

“So three male teachers put out plates of tuna in cages for bait, trapped the cats and then beat them to death with sticks.

“We were very worried the children might try to stroke them and that the cats might scratch them or pass on diseases. We had to get rid of the cats and this was the only way to do it.”

Christie Yang of the charity Animals Asia, which liaises with the Beijing animal welfare groups, said: “We are seriously concerned.

“We understand that with the Olympic Games the Beijing government is eager to show the world the city in a good light.

“But capturing and dealing with cats in such an inhumane way will seriously tarnish the image of Beijing and the Games.”

Names of the animal campaigners have been changed as the people we interviewed are concerned about officials’ reaction to our story.

Source: SIMON PERRY, TheMail

I’m sure there aren’t any tours to these compounds!! Many people feel that China should never have been awarded these games and many feel we should have boycotted them. Let us hope that since China was given this honor before they changed their policies on issues like human rights, personal freedoms and animal rights, to mention just a few, that they grow from the experience and contact with the world and ‘pay it forward’. We can only hope… plus keep a watchful eye and increase the pressure to do so.

Just this evening (08.14.08) I watched a group of foreign correspondents in China covering the Olympics ask the spokespeople for the International Olympic Committee if they were embarrassed by China’s lack of compliance with the committee’s requests and China’s promises before being awarded the games. The the Committee spokespeople did everything in their power to avoid answering the question.  Marion Algier, JustOneMorePet~

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Dog Meat In Beijing Ordered Off Menu For Olympics

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The “ex”-Middle & Upper Class Homeless

I originally read the article below on Cnn.com last May about women who have become homeless and are living in their cars with their pets, one lady has four cats and another lady has 2 dogs. I posted the story below at that time on a personal blog of mine. Then lately I saw a TV news story about how this situation is getting worse daily and that Santa Barbara has designated 3 large parking lots where people who are homeless can park over night… with pets, children and what little is left of their belongings.

Kudos to the people who have kept their pets with them, but I think it is time for Santa Barbara and cities all over the country to look at other options for these people and thousands of others, that include their pets.

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) — Barbara Harvey climbs into the back of her small Honda sport utility vehicle and snuggles with her two golden retrievers, her head nestled on a pillow propped against the driver’s seat.

art.sleeping.cnn.jpg

Californian Barbara Harvey says she is forced to sleep in her car with her dogs after losing her job earlier this year.

A former loan processor, the 67-year-old mother of three grown children said she never thought she’d spend her golden years sleeping in her car in a parking lot.

“This is my bed, my dogs,” she said. “This is my life in this car right now.”

Harvey was forced into homelessness this year after being laid off. She said that three-quarters of her income went to paying rent in Santa Barbara, where the median house in the scenic oceanfront city costs more than $1 million. She lost her condo two months ago and had little savings as backup.

“It went to hell in a handbasket,” she said. “I didn’t think this would happen to me. It’s just something that I don’t think that people think is going to happen to them, is what it amounts to. It happens very quickly, too.”

Harvey now works part time for $8 an hour, and she draws Social Security to help make ends meet. But she still cannot afford an apartment, and so every night she pulls into a gated parking lot to sleep in her car, along with other women who find themselves in a similar predicament. Video Watch women who live in their cars »

There are 12 parking lots across Santa Barbara that have been set up to accommodate the growing middle-class homelessness. These lots are believed to be part of the first program of its kind in the United States, according to organizers.

And there are others living in cars with their children…

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Golden Retriever Stepped Right Up… We Need To Do The Same!!

AN unusual Mom

Heard about this on “Day to Day” on NPR. The tiger cubs’ mother abandoned them and the Golden Retriever stepped right in.

The nature park owner says that the dog will only be able to raise them for a few days, but that it will be enough to get them started and then staff can take over. The cubs need the contact every bit as much as the milk right now.

Pets and animals of all types are being abandoned in record numbers. They need us to step up and save them, just as this great mom has!! Be a foster parent for a pet that needs a home!

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Pets | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Meat In Beijing Ordered Off Menu For Olympics

As the Olympics with their spectacular venues, always inspiring events and amazing performances by all the athletes involved, are dancing in front of our eyes nightly, if not 24/7 for the next two weeks, I thought it as a good time to remember that although China has come a long way, they still have a long way to go in many areas, including animal rights.  So, I started writing about Dog & Cat Meat temporarily being taken off the menus in Beijing’s restaurants, when I came across the following article written about a month ago. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so have decided to share it instead. Thanks, Deborah!!  Let us hope that  the Chinese might be inspired to live up to their ‘One World Dream’ after being afforded the opportunity to  host the Olympics without living up to many of the standards and promises that went with that honor.  Pay it forward China… and you can start by leaving Dog and Cat meat off your menus!! Marion Algier – Just One More Pet~

With concerns of offending sensitivities of Western visitors and animal rights groups for next month’s Olympics and September’s Paralympics, Beijing’s Food Safety Office has issued a directive forbidding 112 restaurants and hotels from selling man’s best friend — dog meat to be specific (as well as cat meat) — on menus for the duration of the Olympics.

Dogs look out of their cages from a truck on a motorway on the outskirts of China's capital Beijing April 8, 2006. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

Warning, some images and content may be deemed highly offensive. As a passionate dog lover, this puppy’s intentions were meant to instill the realities and horrors [to some] of certain cultures taking place not only in China, but other areas as well for the sale and consumption of dog meat as a delicacy.

Dog meat — commonly known as ‘fragment meat’ in the area — is not traditional food fare in northern China, but it is a regular menu item in the large number of Korean restaurants in Beijing.

And in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Jiangsu, dog meat has recently become the latest trend for hip Beijingers. Fried “long dog tails” are a treat in many areas of China, “as long as all the hair is removed,” usually burning off if deep fried.

It’s become a popular delicacy in the country believed by many Chinese to be an effective element to lower high blood pressure, and said to have warming qualities in winter, hardly an issue in a scorching Beijing August.

The Chinese have eaten dog for 7,000 years , farming them for their meat even today. But dog is less popular these days because of the high feeding costs. Young dogs are preferred because the meat is softer.

The directive ordered Olympic contractor hotels not to provide any dishes made with dog meat, advocating all restaurants serving dog suspend it during the Olympics, and said any canine material used in traditional medicated diets must be clearly labeled. Many have been strongly advised to suspend serving it up to September.

Designated restaurants for the ban which are caught selling dog meat will be blacklisted by the association, but the punishment was not specified.

“We had a notice from the city restaurant association.” said a spokesman for Huatian Cold Noodles, a Korean restaurant chain which has a contract to provide Olympic catering. “We usually have about 20 dog meat dishes on our menu. It will certainly have an effect on our sales.”

One restaurant was claiming to know nothing about the ban yesterday. “If it applies to us, the effect will be huge.” said a member of staff at Dog Meat King, a small, specialist purveyor. “If we get an order like that, I have no idea what we would do.”

The move is part of efforts “to respect the dining customs of different countries” and also aimed at heading off protests by animal rights groups. It’s unclear whether other delicacies including donkey and horse will be kept off the menu for the Games.

Criticism from Westerners caused the dog meat-loving South Koreans to ban canine dishes for a period of time during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Dog Meat Customs
In some countries, apart from being kept as pets, certain breeds of dogs are raised on farms and slaughtered for their meat. Some eat it as an alternative source of meat or for specific medicinal benefits attributed to various parts of a dog.

In parts of the world where dogs are kept as pets, people generally consider the use of dogs for food to be a social taboo.

Though the consumption of dog meat is generally viewed as taboo in Western culture, some Westerners support the right to eat dog meat and accuse other Westerners who protest against dog eating in other countries of cultural imperialism and intolerance.

In Islamic culture, eating dogs is forbidden under Muslim dietary laws.

Cultural attitudes, legalities, and history regarding eating dog meat varies from country to country with very little statistical information available.

China
Dog meat has been a source of food in parts of China from at least the time of Confucius, and possibly even before. Ancient writings from the Zhou Dynasty referred to the “3 beasts” which were bred for food including pig, goat, and dog. Dog meat is sometimes euphemistically called “fragment meat” or “mutton of the earth.”

During a hard season when the food store was depleted in the past, dogs were occasionally slaughtered as an emergency food supply. Today it’s consumed for its perceived medicinal value of increasing the positive energy for the body (the yang), and helping to regulate blood circulation. Due to this belief, people eat dog meat in the winter to help to keep themselves warm. Others don’t eat it, believing it will overheat the body.

Contrary to some popular beliefs, the Chinese only eat dogs raised specifically for meat, not those raised as pets. They’re allegedly slaughtered between 6 and 12 months of age because of their size at that age, and for desirability of the meat.

Despite being a socially acceptable practice, the average Chinese don’t usually eat dog meat since it’s relatively expensive compared to other meats, being generally more accessible to affluent Chinese. 300,000 dogs are killed in the county annually, much of the meat being processed into stew for export across China and Korea.

The Chinese typically cook the dog meat by stewing it with thick gravy or by roasting it. One method of preparing the dog carcass is by immersion in boiling water, allowing the skin to be peeled off in one pull.

Some controversy has emerged about the treatment of dogs in China not because of the consumption itself, but because of other factors like cruelty involved with the killing including allegations that animals are skinned while still alive.

In recent years, Chinese people are increasingly changing their attitude towards eating it from personal choice to unnecessary cruelty. A growing movement against consumption of cat and dog meat has gained attention from people in mainland China which began about 2 years after the formation of the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network.

CCAPN began organizing well-publicized protests against dog and cat eating in January 2006, starting in Guangzhou, following up in more than 10 other cities “with very optimal response from public.”

Some Chinese restaurants in the United States serve “imitation dog meat” which is usually pulled pork, flavored to taste like dog meat.

According to the recent documentary TV from BBC, Tibetan monks in China also eat dog meat.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, a local ordinance dating from British colonial times which has been retained after the handover to Chinese sovereignty prohibits the slaughter of any dog or cat for use as food, with penalties of fines and imprisonment. Four local men were sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in December 2006 for having slaughtered 2 dogs.

Apart from this, a large proportion of people are currently against the consumption of dog meat.

Korea
Gaegogi — “dog meat” in Korean — is often mistaken as the term for Korean soup made from dog meat, bosintang. Since 1984, selling dog meat has been illegal in South Korea. Dog meat manufacturing and processing are not allo

The consumption of dog meat can be traced back many centuries. Dog bones were excavated in a Neolithic settlement in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang Province. One of the wall paintings in the Goguryeo tombs complex in South Hwangghae Province, a UNESCO World Heritage site which dates from 4th century AD, depicts a slaughtered dog in a storehouse.

Types of dishes include:
• bosintang — dog stew including dog meat as its primary ingredient.
• gaejangguk — dog meat soup.
• gaesuyuk — boiled dog meat.
• gaesoju — a fermented drink that is distilled by cooking the dog in a double boiler. Dog’s penis used to be added as a medicine to supplement energy.

Use of dogs for meat and the methods of slaughter used have generated friction between dog lovers, both Western and Korean, and people who eat dogs.

Today in Korea, a segment of the population eat bosintang (literally “invigorating soup”), believing it to have medicinal properties, particularly for virility. Dog meat is also believed to keep a person cool during the intense Korean summer.

Many Korean Buddhists consider eating meat an offense, which includes dog meat. Unlike beef, pork, or poultry, dog meat has no legal status as food in South Korea. Some in South Korea and abroad believe that dog meat should be legalized so that only authorized preparers can deal with the meat in more humane and sanitary ways, while others think that the practice should be banned by law.

In recent years, more and more Korean people changed their attitude towards eating dog meat from personal choice to unnecessary cruelty.

Japan
For Korean people in Japan, China is the only exporter of dog meat to Japan and exported 31 tons in 2006. Dog meat is available in Korean towns such as Tsuruhashi, Osaka and Okubo, and Tokyo.

Indonesia
In Indonesia, the consumption of dog meat is usually associated with the Minahasa, a Christian ethnic group in northern Sulawesi, and Batak tribe of Northern Sumatra who consider dog meat to be a festive dish and usually reserve it for special occasions like weddings and Christmas.

Popular Indonesian dog-meat dishes include Rica-Rica, “RW” or Rintek Wuuk, Rica-Rica Waung, Guk-Guk and “B1″.

Taiwan
Eating dogs has never been commonplace in Taiwan, but it is eaten in the winter months, particularly black dogs, which are believed to help retain body warmth. In 2004, the Taiwanese government imposed a ban on the sale of dog meat, due to both pressure from domestic animal welfare groups and a desire to improve international perceptions.

According to Lonely Planet’s Taiwan guide, it’s still possible to find dog meat on some restaurant menus, but becoming increasingly rare.

Vietnam
Dog meat is consumed throughout Vietnam to varying degrees of acceptability, though more predominantly in the north. Many dishes feature dog meat, often including the head, feet and internal organs.

Groups of male customers spend their evenings seated on mats sharing plates of dog meat and drinking alcohol as a form of ‘male bonding.’ They believe it to raise the libido, considering it unsuitable for women, although it’s not uncommon for women to eat dog meat.

The consumption of dog meat can be part of a ritual usually occurring toward the end of the lunar month for reasons of astrology and luck. Restaurants which mainly exist to serve dog meat only open for the last half of the lunar month.

Germany
Dog meat has been eaten in every major German crisis at least since the time of Frederick the Great, commonly referred to as “blockade mutton.”

In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common, but since 1986 dog meat has been prohibited.

Switzerland
According to the November 21, 1996, edition of the Swiss newspaper Rheintaler Bote, the rural Swiss cantons of Appenzell and St. Gallen are known to have had a tradition of eating dogs, curing dog meat into jerky and sausages, as well as using the lard for medicinal purposes.

Dog sausage and smoked dog jerky remains a staple in the Swiss cantons of St. Gallen and Appenzell, where one farmer was quoted in a regional weekly newspaper as saying that “meat from dogs is the healthiest of all. It has shorter fibers than cow meat, has no hormones like veal, no antibiotics like pork.”

The production of food from dog meat, however, is illegal in Switzerland.

Canada
Consumption of dog meat is taboo in mainstream Canadian culture, but it may be practiced by some cultural minorities. In 2003, health inspectors discovered 4 frozen canine carcasses in the freezer of a Chinese restaurant in Edmonton.

The Edmonton health inspector consequently said that it’s not illegal to sell and eat the meat of dogs and other canines, as long as the meat has been inspected. The 4 canine carcasses were actually found to be coyotes.

Under Canada’s Wildlife Act, it’s illegal to sell meat from any wild species. There is no law against selling and serving canine meat, including dogs, but it must be killed and gutted in front of federal inspectors

United States
It’s considered a social taboo to eat dogs in the United States. Under California Penal Code, it’s a misdemeanor to possess, import into, or export from the state, sell, buy, give away, or accept any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion with the intent of killing or having another person kill that animal for the purpose of using or having another person use any part of the animal for food.

Beijing Olympic Ban of Dog Meat

Sources: Reuters, Yahoo News, Telegraph, Independent, and Wikipedia

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By Deborah • July 11, 2008

Related Articles:  Olympic Clean-up Chinese Style: Beijings Shocking Cat Death Camps

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Pets Are Family

Choosing a new pet and bringing them home is an exciting time; just like bringing home a new baby or an adopted child for the first time. And just like bringing a child home, once you bring a pet home, they are part of your family. And for that reason, it amazes me how many people leave these helpless creatures behind, often in impossible situations, like tied to a tree or locked in a house without food or water, or drop them off at the pound or shelter “because it just didn’t work out”. Obviously taking them to a shelter is better than abandoning them, but would you take your kids to a shelter? And then for society not to help people to be able to keep their pets during tough times is equally unthinkable.

There is an epidemic of animals being abandoned or dropped off at shelters all over the country that continues to worsen as the housing market and economy continue to worsen. It is time for us to begin thinking ‘out of the kennel’ to turn this trend around and to develop other options. As Mahatma Gandhi said:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated!”

And right now, we as a nation wouldn’t be judged very well.

If each of us around the country (around the world) who loves animals and has the means to do so would take in just one more pet or volunteer to foster pets waiting to be adopted, the problem would be resolved, or at least we’d we well on the way to solving this heartbreaking problem. And just changing or preventing some unfavorable laws and re-allocating some funds now used for euthenization and maintaining animals in over-crowded shelters, pets could be saved.


August 12, 2008 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment