Thursday, April 21, 2011

Social Networking Saves Snoopy

Westerners use dogs for work, security and friendship.
We have emotional ties with canine pets, and so were shaken by the story this week from China: "Hundreds of dogs being trucked to Chinese restaurants were spared a culinary fate after about 200 animal lovers mobilised to stop them ending up on dinner tables. A truck crammed with dogs was forced to stop on a Beijing highway by a motorist, who swerved his car in front of the truck and then used his microblog to alert animal-rights activists."
The dog-lovers caused a 15-hour standoff that jammed traffic, and eventually an animal-protection group purchased the dogs for 115,000 yuan (US$17,600). Many of the dogs had been stolen and were still wearing name tags.
This particular firm trucks similar loads to restaurants weekly, but won't face legal action because it had all the necessary permits. Initially it was the protesters who were likely to face the courts, for traffic violations! 
Eating dog and cat meat (both thought to promote bodily warmth and thus popular in winter) is widespread in China, and other countries too regard dogs and cats simply as meat sources [for more on the subject of dogs for dinner, click here...]
Until recently, this sort of protest action would've earnt the activists lengthy jail terms, but there're now growing numbers of similar actions in China. I've never been a believer in social networking as an accurate news source, but to drive citizens to action like this, it's superb. That's certainly been evident during the recent peoplepower upheavals in the Middle East.
Perhaps it may be able to initiate a movement to stop the consumption of dogs, cats and exotic animals there altogether. But to get these centuries-old traditions banned (especially across a country the size of China!), while not impossible, takes time...

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