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(CN) Truck loaded with dogs stopped by animal activists

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    http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-03/07/content_16286204.htm Truck loaded with dogs stopped by animal activists Updated: 2013-03-07 00:44 By Yang Yao
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2013
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      Truck loaded with dogs stopped by animal activists

      Updated: 2013-03-07 00:44

      By Yang Yao (China Daily)

      Truck loaded with dogs stopped by animal activists

      Volunteers look after dogs rescued by police from a truck in Qijiang country
      in Chongqing on Tuesday. The dogs were to be slaughtered for food in
      Zhanjiang, Guangdong province. [For China Daily]

      Two government veterinarians in Southwest China have been suspended for
      failing to properly check a truck that was found to be carrying more than
      900 dogs to Guangdong province.

      Animal rights activists said they believe most of the animals were stolen,
      and all were headed to slaughter.

      Li Kangsheng and Li Daoping of the Wusheng county animal health inspection
      institution in Sichuan province are being investigated over a quarantine
      permit they signed for the shipment.

      Animal rights activists stopped the truck after spotting it on a Chongqing
      highway on Saturday.

      "According to my experience, a truck overloaded with dogs driving at night
      is a problem," said Peng Tao, one of the volunteers who led the rescue.

      After getting the truck to pull over, he said, he found many poodles,
      huskies, German shepherds and golden retrievers, all expensive breeds,
      locked in cages in the back. "Some still even had their collars," he added.

      Peng said he called fellow activists to confront the driver and demand to
      see a certificate, but was refused. He then claims he was attacked by the
      driver, and called police for help.

      Chongqing traffic officers who responded found a discrepancy on the
      quarantine permit between the number of dogs being shipped and the number
      indicated on the certificate.

      "The certificate said 926 dogs, but in fact there were 907. There was even a
      sheep among them," Peng said.

      "If those who issued the transport permit had checked carefully, they would
      have found that."

      As Peng and other volunteers posted the whole process and a copy of the
      certificate on their Sina Weibo, netizens started to raise questions about
      the quarantine process.

      An official who answered the phone for the Wusheng animal health inspection
      institution on Wednesday declined to comment. However, a document circulated
      by the county's food safety authority on Monday confirmed the two
      veterinarians had been suspended.

      Of the 907 dogs rescued, 20 have since died. The rest are being held for now
      in a school playground in Chongqing.

      "The authorities do not have room for the rest, so we have been charged with
      taking care of them," Peng said. "It's chaos," as he has no clue where and
      how to dispose of the dogs.

      In a separate case, about 20 animal rights activists also stopped a truck
      carrying dogs in Xiuwen county, Guizhou province, on Tuesday.

      Ning Tao, a volunteer, said there were 1,123 dogs confiscated and the
      situation was similar to what happened in Chongqing.

      Several similar incidents were reported nationwide last year.

      Ji Na, a volunteer, said she took part in dog-saving campaigns three times
      in Tianjin.

      "The situation (dog stealing and selling) is terrible, and it happens a
      lot," she said. "But there are no regulations prohibiting it."

      Han Dong, an animal rights campaigner in Henan province, said the demand for
      dog meat is huge in Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region,
      where eating dog meat is a tradition.

      However, according to his observations, there are no special dog farms, so
      stealing dogs from households and selling them to slaughterhouses has became
      the common practice.

      "We have tracked the dog dealers and taken videos of how they steal pets,"
      he said. "If the amount of stealing is up to a certain amount, the behavior
      would be constituted as a crime."

      Han also stressed that eating pets can be harmful to human bodies since the
      pets all received rabies vaccine injections.

      Han said in the current legal context, the best way to fight the thefts is
      to strengthen the quarantine inspections.

      "Once there are suspicions, the officers should report them to the police so
      that the investigation of pet-stealing can be easier," he added.

      Contact the writer at yangyao@...

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