I keep on asking myself: why wasn't there a clamor and protests when the
Olympic Committee selected China for the Summer Olympics 4 years ago?
I know that this announcement made me very angry. How could they have chosen China to host the games? Over the last 30 years I remember reading so many accounts of cruelty to animals in China, particularly in the southern part. Should not the way a country treats its animals be a factor in the selection process?
Now that the "damage" has been done and the Olympic Torch is making its way to Beijing, should I and others of my ilk boycott the games? Someone even hoped that the Olympiads would do so. But that's a very, very big stretch-- seeing as I haven't even heard any rumblings in this direction from the rank and file. But the question persists for me-should I boycott the games? At one internet site, I was one of three at the time who said we would.
I think I'll hold to that even though some incredibly compassionate and brave people who have visited some of China's live animal markets are seeing the Olympic games being held this year as an opportunity for us to urge China to improve the situation at live animal markets. Sadly though, we can't even seem to close down our own cruel ones in San Francisco-- despite wonderfully caring and enterprising people who are continually working to do so.
I guess a very great part of the problem is the customers in SF Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf who want their frogs, lobsters, turtles, fish, chickens, quail, doves, and pheasants freshly killed and slaughtered on-the-spot. Obviously, they are not all Chinese who keep this cruelty going. But it is gratifying to know that there are Asian-American animal rights activists who are simply demanding that animals killed for food be housed and slaughtered humanely according to existing law.
They have painted for us a horrible visual picture of what happens in these live animal markets: "In Chinatown shops, live turtles are hacked apart limb by limb and shells are cut off while the animal is still alive. Chickens, frogs, and doves are suffocated by stuffing them into plastic bags. Frogs are clubbed and skinned alive."
In 1997 San Francisco attorney Baron Miller, acting on behalf of a coalition of animal rights activists sought an injunction agains 12 Chinatown live animal market merchants. In 1998 Superior Court Judge Carlos T. Bea ruled against the animal rights activists' lawsuit, arguing that the Bible's language granting humans "dominion" over animals condones animal cruelty. I had to read that twice -- for me and I hope the majority of people reading this -it is an absolute perversion of what God meant when He gave us dominion over the animals. And these are the people sitting on our benches of law?
As for the Chinese Live Animal Markets, Wanda Embar of Animal Asia, along with two of their team, Christie and Rainbow, visited one in Guangzhou in southern China. They admit that this is the hardest part of their work-- but among the most important because by monitoring the situation, they are able to expose the truth about these hell holes.
As their taxi pulled up to Maoshan Market, they heard the screams of terrified animals. Their cries echoed around each avenue of the market until they finally met the eyes of petrified dogs and cats who were minutes or hours from death. She wrote: "Panting from thirst and dehydration, crying with terror, confusion and pain, their suffering is profound. Sometimes their tails wag in hopeful anticipation that the soft apologies of people recording
their pain will lead to release- until their eyes fade once again into hopeless reality and they turn away."
In tiny cages stacked high-- hundreds of dogs and cats are piled in. While they were there, one cat cage broke opened and all hell broke loose as three cats found the opening and dashed out into the lane trying to flee. But the traders quickly cornered the terrified cats and Wanda describes this terrible scene: "......grasping them around the necks with wire tongs and
smashing them onto the ground until their bodies go limp. A young ginger male twitches for a few seconds and becomes still. A black and white cat convulses wildly in a semi-conscious state, blood pouring from her mouth, nose, and broken legs before awaking more fully and trying to scramble under a truck." The traders let her go knowing that she will soon die of shock and pain and isn't worth chasing."
The internet has so many facets and information re China's shame in the way animals are viewed and treated. On another occasion three members of Animals Asia made a trip to Chongqing Safari Park to monitor the situation of animal treatment there. They found thousands of bored and unhappy animals and some were forced to "perform" with the help of a whip.
At one point they drove through the tiger enclosure, where they were told to expect live animal feeding, when a chicken was suddenly thrown out of a safari park car. One tiger pounced on the live bird and began leisurely plucking its feathers before eating the meat. If this was meant as entertainment, it certainly backfired. In the past many zoos did live feeding to the crocodilians until I believe the London Zoo pioneered a more
humane feeding of either freshly killed animals or frozen meat which is thawed.
So much to cover - old women in southern China boiling cats alive for their curative powers. Using caged bears with incisions to "milk their galls" for questionable medical use. And last but not least - the cruel dispatching of dogs on the menu in some Chinese restaurants. It is one thing to use dog meat, but caging them for long periods, with their snouts tied up and their
front legs bound --unable to eat or drink until they are mercifully dispatched. That is barbaric.
However, less we feel too superior --what about our own food animals? We can use some lessons in compassion and humane husbandry by tearing down the factory farms from hell. And we can also make certain that the slaughter lines are slowed down enough-- insuring that no animal goes through the slaughtering process ALIVE.