All because three people in the region died of rabies in the past four months. This is a strange story indeed.
A county in southwest China has ordered all 50,546 dogs to be killed in an effort to fight a rabies outbreak that has caused the deaths of three people, state media has said. Around 90 percent of the dogs in Muding county, Yunnan province, had already been killed since the campaign began on July 25, the Beijing News said.
Owners were ordered to kill their pets or face having teams of local police and other enforcement officers kill them, it said. Even the 4,292 dogs in the county that had been immunized against rabies were ordered put to death, as authorities said the immunizations were not 100 percent effective, the report said.
From January through July, 360 people in the county had been bitten by dogs, with the three human deaths occurring since April, the Beijing Times said. Some owners have used methods including hanging their dogs, electrocuting them and clubbing them to death, while others used drugs, the Beijing News said.
Dog owwners had been compensated five yuan (60 cents) each for the loss of their pets.
A reporter for the Beijing News who visited the county said one woman was told by dog-elimination squads patrolling the streets that her dog had to be killed. She covered her eyes as the patrollers beat her dog to death.
To prevent dog owners from violating the order, roadside checkpoints had been set up to inspect vehicles for dogs, the Beijing News said. Any dogs found were immediately killed at the scene.
I don’t know. Something about this sure doesn’t sound right to me. I mean, couldn’t they have vaccinated and then quarantined the dogs? Yeah, I know, they might not have the infrastructure in place to quarantine 50,000 dogs, especially out in the countryside, but is there really no alternative to mass slaughter?
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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.