Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Signs of Hope in China

In China, where conditions for animals have traditionally been among the worst on earth for decades, Animal Rights activists are on the march. They're mobilizing as we speak, emboldened by basketball superstar Yao Ming, a retired NBA player who gained fame for his stunning performances on the court for the Houston Rockets.

Yao Ming is a superstar in China. So when he visited his homeland recently and spoke out against shark fin soup and the selling of bear bile tonics - both of which cause enormous suffering for sharks and bears respectively - his words influenced millions of people and helped strengthen China's fledgling AR movement.

The movement has been making tremendous gains over the last few years. They've enjoyed particularly strong success in the campaign against shipping dogs and cats to restaurants, and Chinese society is now moving away from that barbaric practice. Organizations such as the Chinese Animal Protection Network have been thriving since the mid-2000s. The Chinese are becoming much more receptive to pro-animal campaigns.

Moreover, more Chinese families are switching over to vegetarian diets. A new organization called POVchina (translation: Pioneer Vegetarianism of China) is an online resource for Chinese men, women and children who've removed meat from their diets.

And the wonderful group AnimalsAsia has functioned as a much-needed watchdog to monitor developments in China and across the rest of the region. They're sort of the Amnesty International of animal abuse in Asia.

These are but a few hopeful developments in the growth of the Animal Rights Movement in China. The internet has performed a valuable function in bringing a wide array of groups together inside the vast and densely populated country. Talk about a place that desperately needs such a movement. And when you begin to think that 10 years ago, there was very little in the way of animal rights agitation in China, recent developments are extremely encouraging.


  1. I am an American supporter of the Chinese Animal Protection Network and I would like to point out the misleading/incorrect information implied by the article.

    1) "In China, where conditions for animals have traditionally been among the worst on earth for decades"
    -Can you back up this statement with data? I am interested how you reached this very strong conclusion.

    2) Yao ming's campgian is conservation, it is probably not animal rights.

    3) If you read the materials (position documents, research, statistics) published by CAPN and POVchina, they state clearly (see CAPN FAQ) that vegetarianism is a part of Chinese tradition. US meat consumption per capita is still many times higher than the rest of the world and China. One of the major tasks of the Chinese activists is to prevent westernization, prevent the increasing meat consumption under the influence of Western corporations such as McDonald's.

    4) "barbaric practice" of eating cats and dogs? I campaign against the practice but I do not think eating cow is more civilized. However, I will not describe eating cow as barbaric practice for the respect of cultural diversity. Americans eat a large amount of beef. But perhaps dogs and cats are "extra special" animals that deserve more rights than cows. In India, cows are often viewed as sacred. Does that make Americans "barbaric".

    5) CAPN had much work for the lab animal protection campaign. Unfortunately people who are not familar with China very often only set their eyes on their cats and dogs campaigns. I think we call those who think cats and dogs are more important speciesists.

    6) Finally, I would like thank you for your concern of animals. Animal rights is a beautiful cause. Please don’t' bring prejudice towards people into the movement. Racism shares the very same root with speciesism, that is self-righteousness. A related article for your reference, vegan activists criticizes the discrimination towards Chinese: http://arzone.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=4715978%3ABlogPost%3A109265&commentId=4715978%3AComment%3A109359