Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dog Rights VS Human Rights

An incident of burning dogs in the city of Nanjing drew nearly 17000 comments from web users on Thursday and triggered a huge debate about dog rights.

The behavior under fire took place on Wednesday, when a couple of people poured gasoline on two puppies and their mother and set their cave on fire. The dogs were homeless and had stayed for a few months in a corner of a garden in these people's housing compound. One of them said the dogs’ bark disturbed people’s sleep, local newspaper reported.

A witness tried to stop the fire, but one puppy was killed. Residents later called police. Messages on online forums said the surviving dogs were taken care of.

Condemnation of the burning dominated online comments on this incident. People called the act cruel, utterly inhuman or barbarous. Some say those who set the fire could have gone to jail if they were in some other countries.

“You could not like dogs, you could even hate them, but you have no right to take their lives because of your discomfort,” one comment read.

Not long after the debate broke out, a post appeared on tianya club forum written in the name of an old lady, who claimed that the dogs’ barking had forced her to increase the dose of her sleeping drugs but still kept her awake at night. The poster admitted that it was her neighbors who tried to burn the dogs to help her and that she was sorry about their behavior.

“It is a good thing that people have more awareness of animal protection and animals now have higher status,” the poster wrote. “However, please consider here: animals have their rights, but shouldn't people also have their rights as human? When human rights were hurt by animals, whose rights deserve protection more?”

Nevertheless, other web users questioned the true identity of the poster and still could not forgive the burning.

“If [you] think the dogs are disturbing, [you] could contact people at animal protection center to take care of them, or find someone to adopt them. Why use such cruel method to burn them?” One post responded.

There are also a handful of comments that do not take the burning as such a big deal and insist that China needs to focus on problems of people instead of dogs and cats.

“Those who think about dog rights, have you thought about human rights?” One commentator asked, and listed a series of threats homeless animals could bring to human, including carrying disease, barking at children and dropping excrement everywhere.

A harsh debate for animal rights like this was unimaginable in China just a couple of decades ago, when most Chinese people were largely concerned of their own livelihood. Material shortage and relatively poor living conditions left people with little heart to care about how animals around them were doing.

Recent years have seen more and more Chinese people, mostly affluent urban residents, keep pets like dogs and cats. Animal hospital and shelter have been set up in many places, although such resources are still far from abundant. Schools also carried out the so-called “love education,” instructing children to love small animals and respect lives.

Local news report on the incident

Online comments


Anonymous said...

Even "Human Rights" was a taboo word in China not that long ago. This type of discussions / debates indicates that China is definitely moving at the right direction, although hopefully such issues as "Dog Rights VS Human Rights" will no longer be an issue in the not too distant future.

Josie Liu said...

I think the following comment ought to be put here, and I think it's a good observation.

Benjamin said...
I think the problem is not dog rights nor human rights, but more a matter of reproductive rights. Dog ownership is becomming very popular in China, but the problem is that nobody has their dogs spayed or neutered. As much as some people might think this is cruel, the result of an enormous population of sexually active canines, is an even larger population of sexually active canines, which is why there are stray dogs everywhere in China. If people were educated about having their dogs neutered and spayed, we wouldn't have to deal so much with this problem of stray dog extermination.

4/27/07 10:28 PM

Jenn said...

Yuck Yuck Yuck. This is something that pushes me over the edge. I live in Nanjing and they also just had another huge culling a few months ago. Which is bad enough, but people doing something so horrible just makes me lose my mind with anger. And be horrified that I live somewhere where people have so little regard for life in general.

Not only do people not have their pets fixed, they let them run lose and even watch them mount other dogs. I have to believe that they are aware of what the consequences of this is?

I wish someone would write a manual entitled: How To Take Care Of Your Pets and Treat Animals, and distribute it for free.

Also, are there any laws against animal cruelty in China?

Anonymous said...

PRETEND that they weren't dogs and they were human criminals! Would you justify pouring petrol over them and burning them to death? EVEN if they kept you awake?!

OH NO!!!! Of course you wouldn't they may be more dangerous than dogs and know what is right and wrong but as they are a different species people don't care!

Anonymous said...

We can't let up on speaking up for animals, especially the dogs in China and Asia, where they are treated worse than garbage. All creatures deserve the right to live a live free of terror, torture, cruelty, and death by brutal means. We have to make it "their right". Human beings are in charge...look what they have done with their rights? Speak up for the voiceless. Don't stop!!

Anonymous said...

You have a nice blog here! I will be saving this page to my favorites for sure. I just visited a site with interesting articles on dog beds. If nothing else it's a great read. Check it out if you have time. Thanks. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Beijing 2 years and if I could, I would bomb all China as they are born subhuman and will always be.

Anonymous said...

would you do something like that just fro your own good?
As if a dog would come to you pour gasoline over you and then burn you.
If they had a voice to speak surly they would argue.
I am Chinese and I am so ashamed of them.
That is just beyond evil.


Anonymous said...

That's so wrong. I feel like killing the people that did things like that.

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canine cooler said...

Those people who have no regards to dog's life should not own one.