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Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

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Rabies risk in China leads to genocide of dogs

Governmental officials in southwestern China’s Yunnan province’s acknowledge the massacre of as many as 50,000 dogs in a campaign carried out in 2006 following the deaths of three local people from rabies, as reported in the Shanghai Daily.

As unthinkable as it might seem to dog owners in Western countries, the genocide was carried out by  forcefully grabbing dogs from their owners during a walk, and then beating them to death on the spot. Other killing teams entered villages at night creating noise to get dogs barking, and then killing the dog once it was found. According to one Chinese official “with the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs.”

China has suffered a major rise in the number of rabies cases in recent years, with 2,651 reported deaths from the disease in 2004, the last year for which data was available. In rural parts of China, 70% of the households keep dogs but the rate of vaccination against rabies is only about 3%, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


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