Archive for July 4, 2008

Will Dogs Boycott Beijing?

The goal of the Olympic Games is to bring the world’s people together in peace to celebrate human athletic achievement. But this year, the thrill of the games are coupled with the agony of protests against China’s continued support of the genocide in Darfur, it’s troubled relations with Tibet and Burma, and a disturbingly long list of other human rights, environmental, religous and ethical concerns.

As the 2008 Summer Olympics threaten to become a boy-cotter’s haven rather than a venue for top athletes to test their skills many ask, are the Olympics the appropriate platform for protest?

Olympic committees and Chinese Communist Party officials are (of course) opposed to boycotts. They say if boycotts and protests disrupt the games the athletes and Chinese people will be the ones to suffer.

There are valid points on both sides of the argument (and this is a dog blog – not a political blog), so we’ve decided to let each of you decide this issue for himself.  But – if your dog needs help in making his decision regarding whether or not to boycott Beijing, here are a few points for him to ponder.

  • According to recent press releases, one of the greatest threats for visitors to Beijing is the hundreds of stray – and sometimes rabid dogs that roam the city. If your dog is foolish enough to go to China, make sure he’s up to date on those shots! Otherwise his flirtation with that pretty stray could be a truly fatal attraction.
  • And — if your dog is unlucky enough to be infected with rabies while in China (or be suspected of infection, or even be present in an area where other animals are suspected of infection) he should keep in mind that the Chinese government has a brutal policy to confiscate and beat dogs suspected of being diseased to death in the streets.
  • Here dogs are pampered pets but in many parts of China dog is still a gourmet entree
  • We groom and pet our dog’s lovely coats.  In China, dog is a pelt commonly made into coats
  • And what about wheat gluten in pet food that sickened or killed thousands of cats and dogs and led to the biggest pet food recall in history?  The owner of one of the Chinese companies that supplies the tainted gluten has admitted that melamine was added specifically to make the gluten appear to have a higher protein content.  When wheat gluten from Chinese factories was first suspected as the source of the contamination, Chinese authorities initially refused visas to FDA investigators.  According to a story in the New York Times:

The Chinese government had initially reacted angrily to suggestions that Chinese food exports could have been the cause of death or sickness in so many American pets. At one point, the Chinese government even insisted that the country had not exported any wheat gluten to the United States this year.

I don’t think that that’s the sort of goverment my dogs want to support.

  • There have been several cases of paint containing toxic levels of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals used on millions of toys made in China for the world’s children and dogs.   The Chinese government has admitted that its own oversight of manufacturing is plagued by corruption and loopholes.  The US has offered to help, but in China, the FDA’s power is extremely limited. If an FDA inspector wants to inspect a Chinese facility, he has to be invited by the Chinese government. The government then gives the manufacturer 30 to 60 days’ notice of the impending inspection.  With this sort of rampant corruption oversight it’s no wonder problems with products manufactured in China continue to be discovered here in the States after the toys have been exported and sold.
  • Most dogs in the west live as pets, and shelters and rescue groups work tirelessly to safely house and rehome strays and unwanted dogs.  In China, strays far outnumber pets, and free-roaming dogs (stray or not) are routinely rounded up and brutally killed.  There are very few rescue groups in China.
  • If that’s not enough, there was the attempted eradication of all medium to large dogs (over 14″ at the withers) in Beijing.  The measure also limited residents to one dog per household and was enacted to improve the appearance of Beijing for the Olympic games.  Thousands of dogs were killed before enforcement of the law was halted. 

And finally — your dog may want to boycott Beijing because – unlike the the Chinese Communist Party – dogs understand and respect human rights.

July 4, 2008 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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July 2008