Why pet killers have complete freedom in Chinese society

By Wang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/3 18:43:39

Illustration: Lu Ting/GT

A Shenzhen man in southern China's Guangdong Province reportedly tortured 50 dogs to death "just for fun," then sent short video clips of his actions to his WeChat friends.

The remorseless man said that he "really enjoys abusing dogs" with electric shocks or iron bars and will continue to do so.

His WeChat videos and conversations were eventually leaked onto the Internet and quickly went viral. The savage behavior sparked outrage among animal lovers, and netizens have human flesh searched the man's real name, ID information, home address and phone numbers.

Some bloggers on Weibo commented that this man should be "abused in the same manner as all the dogs he killed." Others argued that he should be imprisoned.

However, as a greater number of netizens and journalists have pointed out, because the dogs were the man's personal property (he purchased them), then he's legally allowed to do what he wants to them, as China has no animal rights laws.

I felt horrified after reading about his actions, but what shocked me even more was learning that animal abuse is not illegal in China.

Indeed, when I researched all the publicized animal abuse cases from the past few years, I discovered that none of the perpetrators have ever faced any legal punishment.

For example, in 2015 a student at Guangdong University of Finance and Economics reportedly purchased cats from a nearby pet market just to abuse, dismember and kill them.

The student even made videos of his procedures, which he posted online. He was flesh searched by irate netizens but he did not face any punishment for his inhumane behavior.

Likewise, in 2012 a middle-aged Shanghai woman became well-known online for her abuse of her adopted cats. Some cat lovers even came to her home to take her to the police, but they could not formally press any charges since she had not broken any laws.

Meanwhile in many Western countries, animal rights laws are light-years ahead of China.

In 2015 a 25-year-old US man was convicted of torturing seven dogs to death and sentenced to 28 years in state prison.

Similarly, a 54-year-old American man who mutilated, stabbed and decapitated his pets was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2016.

Part of the reason that China is so slow to institute animal rights laws is that for thousands of years dogs and cats have been considered a staple of the Chinese diet.

In the Canton region of South China and in the far northern provinces near Russia, dog meat restaurants are as common as convenience stores.

Yulin Dog Meat Festival in southwestern China is also very popular and well attended despite the negative international media coverage it has received in recent years.

Additionally, the concept of keeping cats and dogs as pets is still relatively new and quaint in China despite its surging acceptance.

Online statistic shows that there are over 150 million pets in China, with 60 percent dogs and 20 percent cats. Shanghainese are especially well-known for their fondness for pets, with an estimated 2 million pet dogs.

But for every urban household here with a pet dog or cat, there are hundreds of Chinese who don't consider dogs and cats as anything more than a meal.

So while increasing media exposure of dog meat festivals and murderous videos may make it seem like China embraces animal rights, the fact is that the nation is a very long way off from actually instituting any laws against hurting or killing pets.

Sadly, numerous psychological studies and academic research across the world have shown a direct correlation between animal abuse and psychotic or sociopath tendencies.

Abusing and killing animals for fun is a proven precursor to human homicide and other criminal behavior; most if not all serial killers and mass murders throughout world history were known to torture animals in their youth.

With that in mind, even though there is no law in China against harming pets, the public has an obligation to keep a very close eye on any known animal abusers, because their next victim could very well be a small child, a young woman, or you!

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.

Posted in: TwoCents, Metro Shanghai

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