31 July 2008
We've read much in the news about China's multi-billion dollar environmental clean-up of Beijing ahead of the forthcoming Olympic Games. Less widely publicized, however, is Beijing's pre-Olympics closure of its many dog meat restaurants.
Common in cities throughout China, these roadside restaurants specialize in dishes made of almost every conceivable part of dogs including heads, legs, testicles and innards. The unfortunate animals destined to be eaten are frequently kept on display outside these restaurants in cramped cages.
In 2007 an undercover investigation by French animal protection group One Voice reported on what they witnessed.
On arrival at one such restaurant, they found the owner sharpening a knife lashed to a stick while a big pot of water heated on a fire beside the dogs’ cages. Using a noose attached to a pole, his son pulled an Alsatian cross by the neck to the front of one cage. The man stabbed it in the chest with the knife. If he was aiming for its heart, he missed. The pitiful dog screamed... an appalling, long drawn-out death had begun.
For several agonizing minutes it stood in shock, pathetically licking the wound as its blood pooled beneath it, yet still wagging its tail.
The owner stabbed it again. Its howls of pain and puzzlement were unbearable. The restaurant owner dragged it from the cage, blood dripping, tail still wagging, then pushed it over and stabbed it yet again, twisting in the knife as it howled even more. Then the son dragged the dog to the pot and thrust it, still twitching with life, into the boiling water.
Less than a metre away, the remainder of the caged dogs watched in terror.
Similar brutality was witnessed at other dog meat restaurants.
Investigators watched a cowering, whining dog being brutally beaten unconscious with a baseball bat and bled out on the pavement. Its blood ran beneath cages full of other terrified dogs awaiting slaughter.
Many victims of the dog meat industry are rounded up locally - some, still wearing collars, obviously former pets. Others are bred on farms and transported to meat processing factories.
In these factories, dogs are tortured or bled out to increase their terror. This results in adrenaline rich meat that, according to folklore, makes the men who eat it more virile.
Investigators visiting one of these establishments reported that, 'The caged dogs were shaking pitifully: their terror was well founded.
Using long neck pliers, a worker dragged one struggling dog from its cage and battered it unconscious with blows to the head and muzzle.
He dragged it to the killing area, stood on its head, inserted a finger into its neck and bled the animal, which shuddered spasmodically as its blood gushed across the concrete. Despite this it remained alive.
The butcher left it lying in unimaginable distress and pain for seven agonizing minutes while he killed several other dogs. Then, finally, he battered it to death and put its body in the boiling pot.'
This is the canine cruelty that China is trying to hide behind it's modern Olympic facade.