Kindness: where east meets west
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2000:
HONG KONG, BEIJING– – Beijing TV electrified China as the millennium changed with a rare western-style investigative expose of pet theft for the dog-andcat meat markets.
Foreign correspondents swiftly amplified the revealed atrocities. Yet, in a nation where man biting dog is scarcely news to anyone, most missed the breaking edge of the story.
“By fair means and foul, predatory traders are getting their hands on Russian dogs and packing them off by the busload across the border to China to supply a booming demand there,” wrote Baltimore Sun foreign staff reporter Will Englund from Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
“Thousands of animals have been taken out of Siberia,” Englund continued, “in a business that is ruthless, dishonest, and violent––and is breaking the hearts of Russia’s dog lovers. Local gangs buy some dogs and steal others.”
Purebreds, Englund explained, may be sold as pets. Others, he said, citing as source Grace Ge Gabriel, Beijing representative for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, may be “used as breeders to supply Chinese dog meat markets.”
“Cats are being stolen at night and sold to restaurants,” added David Rennie, Beijing correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph. “A journalist in Tianjin [near Beijing] recently talked his way into a clearinghouse filled with freezing, hungry cats, none of whom had been fed since arriving. Zhang Ping, a local pet owner who has lost six cats, told the reporter that thieves used cages baited with sparrows to trap pets and stray animals.”
Elaborated New York Times Beijing reporter Erik Eckholm, “In the homeland of Cantonese food, the southern province of Guangdong––where it is said that people will eat anything with four legs except the table––cat is neither a major item nor a traditional favorite. But a small minority of diners like to order it, and they carry their preferences with them. So, along with the spread of Cantonese-style restaurants in Beijing in the last few years has come catnabbing, to supply meat for demanding customers. Just since September 1999, cats have been stolen from as many as 500 Beijing families, said Lu Di,” whom Eckholm identified first as “an elderly Beijing woman who is a longtime campaigner for animal welfare.”
Later Eckholm mentioned that Lu is a professor of classical literature at People’s University. Then Eckholm explained that she is founder of the Association for the Protection of Small Animals, a young but fast-growing league of about 5,000 members who aim to change how animals are treated in China.
The APSA was just one of the upstart Chinese animal protection organizations to call for government action against pet thefts and cat-and-dog-eating. Chinese media paid attention.
On January 13, for instance, China Daily staff writer Tang Min reported sympathetically on a concert held to fund leafleting by the Beijing Small Animal Lovers Association.
After the Beijing TV report, BSALA vice secretary-general Zhao Xiaoqin told Tang, “Almost immediately we organized a large-scale publicity campaign to lash out at the atrocity. We didn’t expect so many people would pay attention, calling us to say they were not only concerned, but also willing to adopt a cat when necessary.”
Chinese authorities did not appear to take action on behalf of dogs and cats. On January 15, however, the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, and Yunnan commenced a 10-day series of raids on restaurants that serve wildlife and the poachers who supply them. The Legal Daily reported that 13,309 animals were liberated, including 4,178 members of protected species, in the first three days of the raids, and that 396 people had been arrested.
A simultaneous educational campaign launched by the China Wildlife Conservation Association advised that eating wildlife could spread deadly diseases such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and dysentery. The Guangxi Precious Wildlife Rescue Center found all three diseases among 45 monkeys who were rescued from a restaurant supplier in December.
The actions followed a national ban on capturing, selling, or exporting wild-caught birds, imposed effective on December 1, 1999.
The Chinese public response to a dramatic depiction of cruelty might have surprised American activists, who energetically lobbied New Jersey governor Christine Whitman to sign a bill prohibiting the sale within New Jersey of dog or cat flesh or fur. Whitman signed, as requested, on January 3. The bill was promoted by the Humane Society of the U.S., which is seeking similar legislation both federally and in other states, after shocking the U.S. in both late 1998 and late 1999 with undercover footage of dogs being killed and skinned in China.
Because China legally tolerates dog slaughter with often deliberately prolonged extreme cruelty, many Americans jumped to the erroneous conclusion that most Chinese find it acceptable. In fact, few Chinese have ever had much say in what their ruling institutions prescribe about anything. It may be as incomprehensible to most Chinese people that laws should represent their views, as it is to most Americans that laws might not be rooted in prevailing beliefs.
A feeling that the majority of Chinese people may be indifferent to cruelty was reinforced for many animal activists by other campaigns focusing on abuses involving China, or people of ethnic Chinese descent.
Among the hot issues have been dog-eating in Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam; the cruel treatment of sun bears, sloth bears, and other ursines to extract bile and make bear-paw soup; and feeding live animals to carnivores as part of the entertainment at circus-like Chinese wildlife parks.
But the Chinese public outrage did not surprise Animal Rights International president Peter Singer, 53, whose 1974 manifesto Animal Liberation was published in Chinese translation during 1999 by the mainland conservation group Friends of Nature.
Speaking at Chinese University in Hong Kong on December 27, 1999, Singer predicted that the animal rights movement “easily could” flourish in China “because there is a lot of support in the Buddhist tradition for a more compassionate attitude toward animals.”
Cruelty to animals is easily visible in China––but contrary to American perception, it is not necessarily seen with less empathy for the victims, found recent public opinion surveys of the populations of Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.
Personnel from the Business Research Centre of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University interviewed 500 demographically representative Hong Kong residents in October and December 1998, on behalf of the Animals Asia Foundation and the Hong Kong SPCA.
Earlier, in March 1998, a firm called BMS & Associates polled 874 residents of Beijing and 864 residents of Shanghai for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The surveys found near-universal agreement that animals suffer, and that this is of public concern:
Beijing/Shanghai Hong Kong
Do you think animals can feel pain? Yes: 93.8% 92.6%
Do you think animals can feel happy and sad? Yes: 93.9% 88.0%
Do you think people are concerned about animal protection these days? Yes: 75.9% 71.8%
Do you agree with punishing animal cruelty? Yes: (not asked) 89.6%
A 1994 poll of 2,000 American Humane Association members asked three questions of similar import. Among the AHA respondants, 70% agreed that, “Curbing violence in our society should be the government’s #1 priority”; 80% disagreed that, “Enough is being done to protect animals against violence”; and 82% agreed that, “Convicted perpetrators of animal cruelty should be given stiffer sentences.”
Every U.S. state has some kind of statewide anti-cruelty law, usually reinforced by local ordinances, and since 1966 the Animal Welfare Act and other federal laws have also addressed cruelty in laboratories and entertainment by invoking the federal constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. There are still major gaps in U.S. animal protection legislation, but all levels of government long since accepted that preventing cruelty to animals is within their public mandate.
In China, by contrast, there are no laws to protect animals other than the British-era laws of Hong Kong, which only 40.2% of Hong Kong residents even knew about, plus the national statutes recently introduced to preserve endangered wildlife species.
As Peter Singer mentioned, Buddhist vegetarian beliefs traditionally protected animals to some extent in some parts of China. When Buddhism was strongest, however, Buddhist teachings were more-or-less the law on all subjects, and were only partially reinforced by secular code. Thus as the Dorling-Kindersley World Reference Atlas notes, “China’s legal system is a mix of custom and statute, and has a local reputation for arbitrariness.”
Buddhism is now practiced by no more than 6% of the total Chinese population, and Buddhists may no longer be a majority even in Tibet, historically the Buddhist stronghold.
That leaves teaching and working against cruelty to animals totally to the secular nonprofit sector, strong in Hong Kong but barely beginning to exist on the mainland.
Within Hong Kong, 88.2% of respondants claimed to know of the Hong Kong SPCA. Only 27.2% had heard of the much younger Animals Asia Foundation, but 41.4% had heard of Dr. Dog, the foundation’s animal therapy program.
Among Hong Kong residents, 82.8% favored sheltering stray animals; 77% said they would support animal welfare advocacy; 71% claimed to already support animal protection groups (more than half mentioned the SPCA); 49.8% were aware that the SPCA is an independent institution (12.4% thought it was part of the government); 45.6% said they might donate money to the SPCA; 18.2% said they would adopt an animal from the SPCA; and 4.4% were SPCA members.
Overall, this is as strong a support base as the humane community enjoys anywhere. In the U.S., the donor constituency averages about one household in four, rising to one in three in San Francisco; nationwide, about 15% of the combined dog and cat population are adopted from shelters.
More specific questions about the Hong Kong SPCA showed strong agreement that it is doing an excellent job at the traditional animal care-and-control-related functions of humane societies––and a prevailing belief that it should do more to educate and legislate against cruelty, particularly on the mainland.
The first column below indicates the percentage of Hong Kong residents who recognize the listed task as part of the job of a humane society. The second indicates the percentage who think the Hong Kong SPCA is doing it well:
Task Part of job Doing well
Helping animals in Hong Kong 95.0% 84.6%
Providing veterinary care 92.8% 83.8%
Lobbying government 91.8% 62.6%
Providing adoptions 91.2% 81.6%
Rescuing strays 89.8% 73.0%
Providing boarding 88.8% 71.6%
Promoting love, care 83.6% 46.2%
Helping animals in China 78.0% 26.2%3
Among Beijing and Shanghai residents, 97.1% said they would support a national wildlife protection organization; 91.6% said they would support an international environmental organization; and 86.5% said they already support an environmental organization of some sort within China.
This much is in line with official Chinese policy. Official policy has scarcely begun to address animal welfare, but 94% of the Beijing and Shanghai residents also said they would support an international animal welfare organization; 68.7% said they favored setting up animal shelters to accommodate lost or abandoned dogs and cats; 49.1% said they would donate funds to support such shelters; and 14.7% said they would adopt animals from shelters.
Cruelty may have no legal definition in most of China, but survey respondants knew cruelty when they saw it.
Among Beijing and Shanghai residents, 72% said they had personally seen cruelty within the past few years. Exactly half of the Hong Kong residents said they were disturbed by cruelty to live animals sold as food in local markets.
That finding has implications for San Francisco, where the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association contends that objections to such practices as removing the shells and bowels from live turtles are rooted in racism. The Hong Kong data shows this is not the case.
But CCBA opposition to attempts to reduce the cruelty of live markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles on January 24 led the California state assembly to pass AB 238, a bill by Mike Honda (D-San Jose) which would leave live market regulation to local communities. If ratified by the state senate and signed by Governor Gray Davis, AB 238 would kill hopes of effective regulation in San Francisco, especially, where few political candidates win office without CCBA endorsement.
Just 26% of respondents to the AHA poll said they had personally witnessed violent acts against animals.
But because the most egregious forms of cruelty are usually illegal in the U.S., they tend to be committed outside the view of casual observers––which scarcely means that they are not being committed. Eighty-five percent of the AHA respondants strongly agreed, and the remaining 15% generally agreed, that “Violence toward animals is much more common than is reported in newspapers or on the news.”
Of the AHA respondants, 46% said they had personally intervened to stop cruelty and “many” said they would. Of the Beijing and Shanghai respondants, 88.8% said they would intervene; they were not asked if they actually had.
The lack of restraint on cruelty in China beyond moral suasion is reflected in how Beijing and Shanghai residents said they would respond to cruelty: 56.7% said they would try to persuade the abuser to stop, and 13.4% said they would criticize the person. A mere 5% anticipated reporting the cruelty to “a relevant organization.”
Responding to a more specific question about what should be done to people who eat the brains of live monkeys, 44.2% said they should be denounced. Only 35.5% said they should be punished by law.
It must be remembered that though China has rarely prosecuted people for crimes against animals, some poachers of pandas, chiru antelope, and other rare wildlife have been executed in public, right after a quick show trial.
Thus the question on punishment might have been taken to mean, “Do you think monkey-brain eaters should be shot in the head at close range, virtually on the spot, and their families be billed for the bullet?”
The AHA respondants and Beijing and Shanghai respondants mostly described similar examples of cruelty they had seen. Hunting in various forms, cited by an unknown percentage of the AHA respondants and 7.6% of the Beijing and Shanghai residents, was apparently mentioned most often.
After that, in order of frequency mentioned by respondants to both surveys, came beating, drowning, and mutilating animals.
The absence of anti-cruelty legislation in China enabled promoters to introduce bullfighting to the former Portuguese colony of Macao in 1997. Sky News Asia correspondent Keith Graves speculated that opponents of bullfighting “will find little sympathy” because “most Chinese have little sentiment for animals.”
But the numbers don’t show that. Among Beijing and Shanghai residents, 69.3% opposed the introduction of bullfighting––and 82.6% of Hong Kong residents opposed it.
Feelings were more ambivalent about circuses, which offer many Chinese their only opportunities to see wildlife in person: 63.6% were favorable toward circuses in Shanghai and Beijing, and 54.4% favorable in Hong Kong.
Beijing and Shanghai residents were not asked about zoos, but 85.2% of Hong Kong residents favored them.
Studies done in the U.S. and Britain have equated support for animal protection with the experience of pet-keeping, independent of raising animals for food or other economic purposes. Thus Chinese experience as pet-keepers may be especially indicative, especially compared to recent U.S. data reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 1997 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook:
Do you keep, or have you kept, a dog, a cat, a bird, or other pets at home?
U.S. Beijing/Shanghai Hong Kong
Dogs 31.2% 29.4% 14.1%
Cats 27.0% 36.3% 8.4%
Birds 5.4% 39.5% 9.0%
Others 10.0% (not asked) 6.8%
Americans are more than twice as likely as Hong Kong residents to keep a dog, and more than three times as likely to keep a cat, but Hong Kong residents are almost twice as likely to keep birds.
Americans are now more likely to keep non-traditional pets. As recently as 1991, however, the American rate of ownership of pets other than dogs, cats, birds, and horses was just 6.7%––virtually identical to Hong Kong.
In Beijing and Shanghai, the question asked was actually, “Have you ever kept dogs, cats, or birds at home?” That produced rates of dog and cat ownership very close to the U.S. norms, even though the Chinese government has discouraged pet-keeping since 1949. The Beijing and Shanghai response suggests that the lower rate of dog and cat ownership in Hong Kong may be due mainly to high density living, rather than to lack of interest.
Beijing and Shanghai respondents were also asked if birds, dogs and cats make good pets. Among them, 85.3% said yes to birds, and 88.2% said yes to dogs and cats.
Keeping multiple pets tends to show a general interest in animals more than does keeping just a dog, who might be mainly for security, or just a cat, who might be mainly a mouser, or just a bird, who might be strictly an ornament.
Have you kept more than one kind of pet?
Dogs/cats 13.3% 5.6%
Dogs/birds 3.4% 4.5%
Cats/birds 2.6% 7.5%
All three (not asked) 11.8%
Any combo 19.3% 29.4%
The lower rate of multiple pet-keeping in the U.S. is partially due to the much lower rate of bird-keeping, and also partially because the Beijing/Shanghai interviewers asking about lifetime experience while the AVMA asked only about the current year.
One must wonder whether some of the Beijing and Shanghai rates of dog-keeping were associated with eating dog meat. The pollsters did not ask that question directly; the response, in any event, might have been misleading, since pets were often eaten out of desperation during the famine of 1958-1960.
Beginning as a result of forced farm collectivisation and industrialization, which led to crop failures, the famine was blamed first on grain-eating sparrows. A three-day attempt to kill every sparrow in China, chiefly by poison, brought a general collapse of all bird species, followed by insect plagues. The
Chinese ecology began to recover only after ornithologist Zheng Guangmei, then 27, convinced the government to politically “rehabilitate” sparrows to eat insects.
Altogether, the famines killed about 30 million people––more than any other famines in history. Dogs, cats, wildlife of all sorts, and even work animals were eaten into at least temporary scarcity.
Zheng Guangmei, now 67, later founded the 600- member China Ornithological Society, which is to host the 23rd International Ornithological Congress in 2002.
The Beijing and Shanghai surveys were done by interviewing whole households at once, and most households included at least one person who survived the famine era.
All of the Chinese pollsters asked about dog-eating. In Hong Kong, where a century of British rule discouraged dog-eating, 22.8% of respondents had eaten dog meat, and 19% had done so within the preceding year.
In Beijing and Shanghai, the pollsters wrote, “There is no relationship between keeping dogs and eating dog meat. Among people who have not kept a dog, 40.4% have eaten dog meat; among people who have kept a dog, 49.3% have eaten dog meat. As to whether eating dog meat is in essence the same as eating beef, 36.5% of the respondents think they are the same, 54.5% think they are different, and 9.0% respond with ‘don’t know.’ “
Many U.S. surveys have investigated differences in perception of dogs and other species commonly used in laboratories, but the only survey ANIMAL PEOPLE could find that asked specifically about differences in American perception of dogs and cattle was done back in 1983 by Doyle Dane Bernbach Research and Marketing Services.
At that time, 89% of Americans said they felt particular concern for dogs, compared with 70% who felt concern for “livestock,” 71% who felt concern for cats, and 72% who felt concern for animals in general. Seals (85%), wildlife (84%), whales and dolphins (84%), horses (78%) and birds (76%) all rated below dogs but above “livestock,” and among warmblooded species only rabbits (67%) and rodents (34%) rated lower.
Inferring a perception of moral equivalence from the Doyle Dane Bernbach data is problematic. Few Americans, for instance, have ever eaten cats, yet cats barely rated above “livestock” in concern––and the concern expressed for “livestock” was at a surprisingly high 80% of the level expressed for dogs. The pollsters noted that “Concern for animals is not accompanied by vegetarianism.”
The Doyle Dane Bernbach data may be more relevant in comparison to the Chinese data if examined in reverse: the 11% feeling no concern for dogs might have eaten a dog, had dog meat been offered to them, and might therefore be said to have believed that eating dog meat and eating beef were “not different” in the same way Chinese do.
“Gender difference is noticeable,” the Beijing and Shanghai pollsters continued. “Of the males, 41.4% think [eating dogs and cattle] are the same, whereas only 31.4% of the females think so.”
The pollsters also observed that “The higher the education level, the more respondents think that eating dog meat is in essence the same as eating beef.” Only 18.4% of illiterates held that view, but 26.4% did among respondents with a primary school education; 30.2% did among those with an eighth grade education; 40.7% did among those with a high school education; and 41.6% did among those with a college education.
This could reflect the extent to which educational opportunity in China was long reserved for loyal Communists, whose views might tend to reflect the opinion of longtime dictator Mao Tse Tung that dogs were parasites, better eaten than fed. Educated people born after Mao’s 1976 death may develop a different perspective.
Added the pollsters, “Among respondents who think eating dog meat is the same as eating beef, 56.2% have eaten dog meat. Only 21.7% have not eaten dog meat.”
The balance is bad news for dogs, and the opposite from what one might expect if Americans viewed beef-eating and dog-eating as being morally equivalent.
Yet the Chinese attitude may not be totally negative.
In the U.S., Europe, and most other nations of the former British Empire, dogs are generally exempted from being eaten. Animal advocates have labored to raise cattle and other livestock to a similar status, but with negative results: 29 U.S. states have actually excluded livestock from their humane laws since the mid-1970s.
In India, an inverse struggle is underway to elevate the status of dogs to a level closer to that of cattle, who have long been protected from being eaten by their religious significance to Hindus and Jains. Dogs are not eaten in India either, but have often been killed en masse during panics resulting from outbreaks of rabies.
In both the U.S. and India, erasing moral distinctions perceived between species has been at best a slow struggle. It may be that in China the status of animals can be raised without creating perceived species distinctions which have no correlary in the animals’ sentience or capacity to suffer, and which may retard humane progress in the long run.
The U.S. and many other nations have also created legal distinctions among categories of animals: livestock, who are eaten without consequence; wildlife, who may be eaten only if hunted or trapped according to the doctrine of “fair chase,” so-called although the animals get much less than a fair chance of escape; endangered species, who may not be eaten at all; and, most exhalted, native endangered species, for whose benefit all others may be killed with impunity.
Neither sentience nor capacity to suffer counts in the prevailing western view of the moral weight of species. The Nature Conservancy, for instance, considers gutshooting or snaring goats and leaving them to die in prolonged agony to be of no moral consequence if it benefits a threatened plant.
Under pressure from western advocacy groups and governments, the Chinese government is now trying to raise the moral status of wildlife and endangered species. Ironically, the job may be harder in Hong Kong, where more freedom of trade has traditionally brought more wildlife to market there:
Have you ever eaten (endangered) wildlife?
Hong Kong Beijing/Shanghai 85.4% (91.2%) 37.8% (35.4%)
The survey question excluded fish.
About 16% of Americans eat wildlife meat in any given year, projecting from the numbers of Americans who hunt (6%), multiplied by the average number of members of a U.S. household (2.65). The number of Americans who have ever eaten wildlife meat, however, may be close to the Beijing/Shanghai level.
Among Beijing and Shanghai residents who have eaten wildlife, 44.9% had not eaten wildlife within a year, and 42.6%had eaten wildlife no more than twice. Only 12.5% had eaten wildlife at least three times in the previous year, the probable frequency of Americans in a hunter’s household.
Cumulatively, because the huge Chinese population means even small minorities number in the millions, demand from China for traditional wildlife commodities is a major cause of poaching, and of notorious cruelties such as eating live monkeys’ brains and tapping captive bears’ gall bladders to extract bile.
But the surveys found that very few Chinese actually condone such practices, raising hope that they can be ended soon. Just 4.6% of Beijing and Shanghai residents had ever taken bear bile, for instance, and just 6.2% of those in Hong Kong.
Their reasons for nonparticipation are especially encouraging: 88.3% of Beijing and Shanghai residents considered eating a live monkey’s brains unacceptably cruel, and 88.5% considered bear bile extraction unacceptably cruel as well, along with 93% of Hong Kong residents, who were not asked about eating monkey brains.
The Beijing and Shanghai residents were asked to agree or disagree with 24 possible reasons for not taking bear bile. Concern about cruelty outweighed all other concerns. Protecting wildlife and endangered species drew 74.9% and 79.9% agreement, respectively. Cost was of concern to only 61.6%. Maintaining strict veganism was a concern of 1.6%.
The 1992-1993 EAT II survey, sponsored by the National Live Stock and Meat Board, found that about 2% of Americans said they were vegetarians, and just under 1% were strictly vegan. (Another 3% did not profess vegetarianism but avoided meat.) Those findings were affirmed by a November 1995 poll done for Associated Press by the ICR Survey Research Group, which found that 6% of Americans rarely eat meat, poultry, or fish, while 2% never do.
Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai residents were asked many more questions about their preferences in choosing medicinal products. Among Hong Kong residents, 95.4% preferred non-animal products if equal in effect to products made from animals.
The preference for non-animal products (58.4%) was markedly lower in Beijing and Shanghai, but mainly because of qualified answers. Only 3.6% of Hong Kong respondants and 4.0% of Beijing and Shanghai respondants preferred animal-based remedies.
The question most often asked in opinion polls about human use of animals is, as the Hong Kong pollsters bluntly put it, “Do you agree with animal testing?”
The Beijing and Shanghai pollsters much more delicately asked about “Reasons for still wanting to use a life-saving medicine produced with cruelty to animals.”
Response to similar questions asked by U.S. pollsters varies greatly depending on how the questions are phrased, who is asked, and when––which leads to some difficulty in comparing the Chinese and American data.
U.S. pollsters usually distinguish between animal testing for nonessential products such as cosmetics, and animal testing for biomedical research. Nonessential product testing consistently gets much lower approval.
The nature of the audience polled also makes a major difference in outcome. While many of the surveys charted below purported to study general audiences, respondants to the 1990 Glamour poll were mostly young single women with no children: the age, gender, and status group who tend to be most concerned about animal suffering.
One year earlier, the 1989 Parents poll reached a readership almost identical in every demographic aspect except in having children––and produced results much closer to the probable national norms.
Several major polls on U.S. attitudes toward animal testing have looked specifically at the people most involved in doing it, or in working with the findings. For instance, members of the American Psychological Association and psychology majors at U.S. universities were surveyed in 1994 by Wesleyan University professor Scott Plous, and Industrial Chemical News in 1996 surveyed industrial chemists, 39.% of whom actually did animal testing.
Finally, some significant polls have been commissioned by pro-animal testing advocacy groups. Each type of U.S. poll is listed separately, in order of polling dates––and each seems to show a gradual decline in U.S. approval of animal testing.
Biomedical use/general audience
1987 Harris/FRAME 58%
1988 Va. Common U. 61%
1989 Parents 58%
1990 Denver Post 75%
1990 Glamour 37%
1995 Associated Press 70%
1991 Mich. State 55%
1994 AmerPsychAssn 80%
1994 Psych. majors 72%
1996 IndustChemNews 68%
Pro-use surveys of general audience
1983 DDRR 81% 1985 FBR 77%
1989 AMA/Gallup 77%
1996 Research America 74%
Cosmetics use/general audience
1983 DDRR 73%
1987 Harris/FRAME 32%
1988 Parents 42%
1990 Denver Post 43%
1990 Glamour 16%
1995 Associated Press 31%
Averaging the 20 sets of responses produces an almost identical outcome:
Do you agree with animal testing?
Hong Kong 59.2%
U.S., all polls: 59.0%
If perspectives on animal testing are as indicative of general attitudes as pollsters seem to think, Chinese and American views may already be just about the same, on balance, and Peter Singer may be right on target.
The missing element in China may only be the present lack of institutions to translate public opinion into laws, animal shelters, and effective pro-animal advocacy.
That would seem to be a fast-changing state of affairs.