Activists block truck to save dogs in China

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2011:

BEIJING–Driving on the Tongzhou section of the
Beijing-Harbin expressway at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 15, 2011, a
China Small Animal Protection Association volunteer surnamed An saw a
livestock truck hauling between 430 and 580 dogs, according to
various different news accounts.
As dogs are rarely eaten in the Beijing region, and are not
raised in the Beijing region for sale to the parts of China where
dogs are commonly eaten, An suspected that the dogs were stolen.

Cutting off the truck, An “forced the truck to stop and
asked others for help via his microblog, according to media
reports,” summarized Huang Jingling of the Global Times. “After
seeing An’s blog, hundreds of animal activists began arriving at the
scene with mineral water and food. Celebrities and foreigners were
also rumored to have shown up. Their presence jammed the highway and
forced police to shut down a nearby exit,” Huang Jingling continued,
with additional reporting help from Liu Linlin and Pan Yan.
Truck driver Hao Xiaomao showed the police “all the necessary
paperwork for the dogs,” said the Global Times team, “but the
activists refused to abandon their rescue effort. After nearly 15
hours, the incident ended with a pet company and an environmental
conservation foundation co-buying the dogs for about $17,606,” which
Hao Xiaomao contended was about $3,000 less than he had expected to
receive for delivering the dogs to slaughter from central Henan state
to Changchun, the capital of Jilin state.
“China Daily quoted activists as saying many of the dogs
still had collars with bells and name tags,” said Agence
France-Presse, “indicating they had been stolen from their owners
and that the trucking company transported a load of dogs to Jilin
each week.
Capital Animal Welfare Association director Qin Xiaona told
the Global Times that the dogs were transferred to the custody of the
China Small Animal Protection Association.
“Many of the animals were dehydrated, injured and suffering
from a viral infection. At least 68 have been hospitalized,”
reported British veterinary blogger Pete Wedderburn. “Dozens of
volunteers gathered at the Dongxing Animal Hospital in Beijing,
where they helped to clean cages, mop floors, and disinfect
Wedderburn is the nephew of John Wedderburn, founder of the
Hong Kong-based Asian Animal Protection Network.
“Much funding was raised and a managing team was formed by
the China Small Animal Protection Associ-ation, Shangshan Animal
Foundation, Leep Pet Holding Corporation, and [the Internet service
portal] to supervise the use of the funds, the medical
treatment and the adoptions” of the dogs, Irene Zhang of Beijing
Animal Rescue told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
The rescue sparked renewed discussion of a proposed national
animal protection law, drafted by Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences faculty member Chang Jiwen of Beijing, with help from an
extensive committee of experts and initial funding from the Royal
SPCA of Britain and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Jiwen has told media that the draft bill in present form would
prohibit eating dog and cats.
Similar rescues of cats from traffickers have occurred often
since 2007. The largest, in November 2009, freed more than 800
cats from a trader who was intercepted in Tianjin, 70 miles from
Beijing, en route to Guangzhou–the only part of China where cats
are commonly eaten.
The Capital Animal Welfare Assoc-iation and China Small
Animal Protection Association also helped to arrange that rescue.

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