BEIJING, China – Hundreds of dogs who narrowly escaped the fate of being on a restaurant menu two weeks ago, received emergency vaccinations today provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare – IFAW. At the same time, IFAW issued an open letter to the Chinese authorities, calling for enforcement of health and quarantine regulations to prevent the illegal, unsafe and inhumane inter-province transport of dogs for human consumption.
On October 14, concerned residents intercepted a truck packed with more than 800 dogs in Zigong, Sichuan province heading to Guangxi for slaughter. The dogs were cramped into 100 cages without food or water for three to four days.
Veterinarians conducted health examinations and found the dogs were not only suffering from various degrees of dehydration, fractures and trauma, but many were also infected with potentially lethal infectious diseases, such as canine distemper and Parvovirus and serious illnesses caused by fungi and mites. Twenty-seven dogs have died so far due to injury and disease.
“The transport of live animals in urban and rural areas carries a high risk of spreading infectious diseases to both animals and people. It also brings great challenges to the prevention of epidemics,” said Dr. Kati Loeffler, IFAW’s Veterinarian Advisor. “It poses a direct threat to human health and public safety.”
IFAW questions the mishandling of the case by local authorities who failed to uphold existing regulations to ensure public safety. In a letter to authorities, IFAW appeals for strengthening existing regulation to protect companion animals from the illegal meat trade and advocates for the anti-cruelty legislation to protect all animals, including dogs and cats.
“This is the second time this year that concerned citizens have intercepted companion animals headed for slaughter – showing that times are changing,” said Grace Gabriel, IFAW’s Asia Regional Director. “The Chinese public is speaking up and taking action against animal cruelty. IFAW’s team on the ground will continue to call for China’s laws to catch up with the growing desires of Chinese people for greater dog protection.”