China’s Fledgling Animal-Rights Movement Takes Shape

China today is still a place where newspapers report that government employees beat unregistered dogs to death on the street and bury alive stray mongrels seen as a nuisance. But meanwhile China’s rising urban middle-class is increasingly embracing pet-ownership, spending 7.84 billion yuan on pet care in 2012. Beijing alone is home to more than 1 million pet dogs.

Deborah Cao, an expert on Chinese law at Griffith University in Australia, sees growing pet ownership in China as helping to create a base of middle-class support for anti-animal cruelty campaigns in the country. “There is much greater public concern today in most Chinese cities, especially among young and educated people,” she says. “That is what I called the emerging grassroots animal liberation movement … I think it has to do with more people having pets, having more contact with animals; and for some it is related to spiritual beliefs, such as Buddhism.”

In a country where citizen groups face intense government scrutiny and often harassment, a recent series of volunteer (or even ad hoc) animal-rights campaigns has made headlines – and scored some surprising victories. Partially in response to citizen-led anti-animal cruelty campaigns, on June 30 China’s Food and Drug Administration ended requirements for mandatory animal testing of domestic cosmetics.

 

Read more at Bloomberg Business Week

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