In Cina 37.000 cani uccisi in una sola cittadina

Un avvocato animalista cinese ha protestato per la campagna promossa dal governo della cittadina di Hanzhong, nella Cina centrale, che ha portato all’uccisione di 37,000 cani per combattere l’epidemia della rabbia.    

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Animal-welfare advocates complained about a campaign in which a local government has killed 37,000 dogs to fight a rabies outbreak, highlighting a divide in attitudes toward animals as China grows wealthier.

The city of Hanzhong, in China’s central Shaanxi province, has ordered the killing of all dogs found outside homes in areas hit hardest by the outbreak. Authorities have ordered “dog-beating teams” to canvass the area and beat dogs to death on the spot — including those that have been registered by their owners, said Shi Ruihua, head of the livestock department in Hanzhong’s agriculture bureau.

Rabies outbreaks are common in rural China. This year, Hanzhong saw a spike in the number of cases. Thirteen people have died there since the outbreak started in early March.

The Hanzhong dog cull, which began May 23, appears to be one of the largest such episodes in recent years. It has triggered outrage, expressed largely online, from the growing cohort of dog lovers. Internet portals and chat sites in China have carried much discussion, as well as photographs and video, of the cull.

“Killing dogs is not the appropriate way to control the spread of rabies,” said Jeff He, a special assistant at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in China. Noting China has been trying without success since the 1950s to eradicate rabies by culling dogs, Mr. He said it would be better to increase funding for vaccination programs and to raise public awareness about rabies and related animal-care issues.

Mr. Shi said it was necessary to cull dogs within three miles of the most infected areas of the city, and beating them to death was determined to be the most practical option. He said the city also ordered the vaccination of 360,000 dogs in the surrounding countryside at government expense.

The number of rabies infections of humans in the city has decreased since the program started, he said. “Dogs are human beings’ friends when they are healthy, but once they are infected they do harm to people’s health,” Mr. Shi said. “Human beings’ lives are more important.”

Washington Post, June 18, 2009


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