Most of the Chinese dog meat traffic is already illegal, lawyers contend

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2011:

Beijing–Most of the Chinese traffic in dogs for human
consumption is already illegal, and therefore should be stopped
immediately, without awaiting passage of a national humane law,
attorneys Lu Xun, An Xiang, and Cai Chunhang told a two-hour press
conference convened in Beijing on June 15, 2011 by the Shangshan
Animal Foundation.
The lawyers joined China Veterinary Association Pet Clinic
Branch vice president Liu Lang to discuss the implications for rabies
control resulting from investigation of an incident on April 14,
2011, when Beijing activists intercepted and eventually rescued
approximately 500 dogs from a truck transporting them from Henan
province to dog meat restaurants in Jilin province.


The truck driver, Hao Xiaomao, was brother of Hao Xiaobing,
the dog dealer who supplied the cargo. In business since 2006, Hao
Xiaobing reportedly was paid $1,200 to $1,500 per load of dogs.
About 80% of the dogs who were seized came from random
sources, the attorneys said. About 20% of the dogs were said to
have been bred for human consumption on one farm. The rest were of
unknown origin, but many had collars and some were purebreds.
Investigators believe these dogs were stolen. Some were reportedly
identified and reclaimed by their people.
All of the dogs, when the truck was intercepted after a
15-hour standoff between the drivers and about 100 activists who
surrounded it on a Beijing expressway, had certification of rabies
vaccination and of having completed post-vaccination quarantine, to
ensure that they were not already rabid when vaccinated.
However, the certifications of vaccination and quarantine
were issued on the same day, the attorneys demonstrated, projecting
copies of the certificates on a pair of large screens to be read by
the approximately 20 reporters and 50 animal advocates who formed the
audience. The attorneys pointed out that the “veterinarian” who
signed the papers turned out to be not a vet, and was not even
qualified to take the examination required to legally issue a
certificate of rabies vaccination.
The certification stated that the dogs had been vaccinated
not only against rabies, but also against parainfluenza,
adenovirus, distemper, and parvovirus. Many dogs, however, were
ill with parvovirus and distemper.
Forty healthy dogs were checked for blood titres. None showed
any evidence of having actually been vaccinated against anything.
Thus there were no actual safeguards in effect against translocating
rabies, the attorneys pointed out–just an unenforced paperwork
requirement.
Failure to vaccinate was just the beginning of the legal
issues, according to the lawyers. Chinese law requires vaccination
of any dogs moving interstate, but the Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Administrative Regulations state that the use of the vaccine given to
the dogs in animals intended for human consumption is illegal,
attorney An Xiang told ANIMAL PEOPLE via translator Irene Zhang of
Animal Rescue Beijing.
Chinese law requires that veterinary medicines must be
registered for whatever purposes they are to be used. No vaccines
are registered for use in dogs destined for human consumption, An
Xiang said. No exemptions to the vaccination requirement and/or the
vaccine registration requirement are granted to permit interstate
movement of dogs who are to be eaten, An Xiang continued.
The three attorneys presented to the Beijing press conference
a variety of statements from federal and provincial agencies to
confirm that none of them authorize interstate movement of
unvaccinated dogs. The attorneys concluded that Chinese rabies
control law actually prohibits the entire interstate dog meat trade,
which they identified as a probable major vector for translocation of
rabies.
The convenors concluded the press conference by appealing for
enforcement of the laws already on the books.
“There is no punishment for the dog dealer yet,” Irene Zhang
told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “The Shangshan Animal Foundation legal team sent
a legal notice to the local Livestock Bureau in Yanshi City, Henan
province, which issued the quarantine certificate, and is awaiting
a response. If the bureau insists that their certificate is valid,
the foundation might launch a lawsuit.”
Circumstantial evidence has long linked the dog meat traffic
with the spread of rabies in China. A September 2009 Ministry of
Health report found that rabies had killed about 2,400 people per
year in China during the preceding five years.
“Most rabies deaths occurred in the Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region and the provinces of Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan,
and Sichuan, accounting for 61% percent of the total, China Daily
summarized. Contig-uous to each other, the Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region and three of the named provinces together form the
part of China which is most involved in the dog meat industry.
Southern Sichuan borders on Guizhou and is involved in exporting dogs
for slaughter.
The China Daily report noted that rabies infections “mostly
occurred in rural areas among males,” who might be most likely to
work among unvaccinated “meat dogs,” children under the age of 15,
who are most likely to play with dogs, and “people over the age of
50,” the age bracket most likely to consume dog meat.

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