Indulging animals not same as animal welfare

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-30 23:48:02

For more, see Daily Speical(s): Uproar over dog meat calls tradition into question

Dogs may be man's best friend, but they can also threaten lives. In the space of just a month, a number of cases of aggressive dogs fatally attacking humans have been reported across China, triggering debates over the country's controversial treatment of pet animals.

A three-and-a-half-year-old toddler from Dalian was knocked down by a Tibetan mastiff last Thursday and later died from severe injuries to her trachea and arteries. One month prior to this tragedy, an elderly man was attacked and killed by two Dogo Argentinos in Zunyi, Southwest China's Guizhou Province. It is tragic to see a life extinguished in an instant due to a savage attack from an animal that someone views as their pet.

The relationship between pets and humans evolved in China over a long period of time, and has changed in recent years. Keeping pets has become a habit among many middle class families in China. For elderly people, DINK families and well-paid but lonely urban white-collar workers, pets not only provide companionship but also emotional support. In some cases, dogs are raised for security reasons, which is where violent animal attacks most often occur.

With improving standards of living, Chinese animal welfare activists have increased in number. International groups like the Humane Society International and Animals Asia have also been pushing forward legislation to combat cruelty to animals.

However, people's growing awareness of animal protection has pandered to pet owners' indulgences, regardless of others' safety. Some raise huge dogs in crowded communities, which has the potential to cause attacks on neighbors.

Criticizing pets or pets' owners can even cause them to respond with verbal insults or attacks.

Last week, a Weibo user who identified himself as a doctor based in Beijing wrote about his anger over the mentality that cherishes a dog's life over a human's, and dissatisfaction with some dog owners' irresponsible manners. His words quickly drew criticism from animal-loving netizens, and he was later beaten by two girls who claimed to be dog-lovers.

This extreme and violent means of protecting animals is certainly not to be encouraged.

When pet owners call for improved animal welfare, they should also hold the lives of people in respect. Human civilization ultimately will become more meaningful if the welfare of pets is respected, but the necessity of protecting human life is held as sacred.

Posted in: Observer

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