Again the words ‘Guangzhou’ and ‘animal cruelty’ are all over the international media. I must admit, I wasn’t aware that dogs and cats in China were killed for their fur. However, last night, (Monday) the BBC’s Six O’Clock News in Britain broadcast a secretly taped film of animals being abused and killed (for their fur) at Guangzhou’s Fur Market – supposedly the hub for China’s cat and dog fur exports. The hidden camera footage was filmed by the organisation People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) and shows ‘extreme scenes on animal torture’:
Dogs and cats are shown being thrown from the top deck of a converted bus onto concrete pavements. In another piece of footage, cats are seen squirming inside a sack before being thrown into a vat of boiling water. Smiling, laughing workers are also filmed beating the animals to death.
One reason why the story made big news was because ex-Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney – well known for his strong stance against animal cruelty – was invited to a preview screening and was shocked by the footage, describing the Chinese industry as being ‘against every rule of humanity’:
“This is barbaric. Horrific. It’s like something out of the Dark Ages. They seem to get a kick out of it. They’re just sick, sick people. This is just disgusting. It’s just against every rule of humanity. I wouldn’t even dream of going over there to play, in the same way I wouldn’t go to a country that supported apartheid. I couldn’t go there. If they want to consider themselves a civilised nation they’re going to have to stop this.”
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.