China has issued a call to safeguard pets from being slaughtered during coronavirus lockdowns, following a series of horrifying occurrences in which cats and dogs were slain.
A woman pushes her dogs in a pram at the Shanghai International Pet Expo in Shanghai. Photo: AFP
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a delegation from China's top political advisory council has urged the government to ensure that companion animals are treated appropriately and "harmlessly."
According to news source The Paper, Chen Wei, a member of the National People's Congress, China has legions of pet animals, but owing to a lack of legislation on how to deal with them when a coronavirus outbreak occurs, many social difficulties arise.
Over the last two years, the country has seen a flurry of incidences in which local governments have forcibly slaughtered dogs belonging to Covid-19 patients or their close relatives as part of their rigorous virus prevention procedures.
According to the survey, by 2019, more than 60 million people on the mainland had pet cats or dogs.
Local governments should enact efficient and compassionate pet quarantine legislation, Chen, vice-president of Quzhou Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Hospital in Zhejiang, eastern China, stated.
These rules will not only be part of a comprehensive epidemic prevention program, but they will also represent the authorities humanistic care for local citizens and respect for every single life, says the statement.
Wild animals, captive birds, and livestock should be slain during an outbreak, according to the current Animal Epidemic Prevention Law and the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, she said. According to Chen, the restrictions do not apply to companion animals such as cats and dogs.
The administration of Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, eastern China, sparked outrage in November last year after officials were seen on camera beating a pet dog to death with an iron rod in its owner's home while the person was transported to a hotel for quarantine. The dog was killed despite officials' repeated assurances to the dog's owner that the animal would not be slaughtered.
Many animal welfare organizations demanded that the authorities establish explicit guidelines for pet quarantine in the aftermath of the Shangrao debacle.
The China Small Animal Protection Association, based in Beijing, stated, We shouldn't injure pet animals in the name of averting the epidemic.
In addition to pet quarantine rules, Chen advocated toughening the penalties for harsh treatment of animals and improving officials' expertise of epidemic prevention to avoid tragedies from happening again.
During the outbreak, we should assist one another. Furthermore, in order to maintain harmony between humans and nature, we must care for all living forms on Earth and safeguard the survival rights of wild and companion animals, she stated.