Thoughts on the Chinese earthquake and the jubilance in some
I’m a Canadian of Chinese extraction, but
this has nothing to do with what I am about to write.
Since the earthquake hit, I’ve read quite
a few bulletins expressing various sentiments. One of these sentiments is
jubilance. I do not condone it.
I understand why such a sentiment would
arise. After all, the Chinese are notorious for animal abuse and the
oppression of Tibet. But I’m the only person among my circle of friends here
who was born in China and raised in a Chinese society (that I know of). I
can say without much prejudice that not all Chinese abuse animals and
support oppressing Tibet. The Chinese people themselves are suffering abuse
and oppression from the same source. Due to the large Chinese population,
however, even if only 1% of the Chinese people abuse animals and support
oppressing Tibet, it would amount to 14 million people. 14 million people is
about 50% of the Canadian population. By the same measure, the 14 million
animal abusers and Tibet-oppressors in China constitute only 1% of the
Chinese population, meaning that 99% of the Chinese people are not. Even if
10% of the Chinese people (140 million) are guilty of such crimes, this
still means that 90% of the Chinese people are not.
I lived in a Chinese society until coming
to Canada at age 20. My family, which is not extraordinary by any means,
does not eat cats or dogs or use bear gall bladders or tiger bone, although
a small percentage of the people do. I had a cat, and some of my cousins had
cats and dogs. We have never abused these or other animals. We treated them
just like the Canadian or American people do their own. And, no, I have
gotten closer to dogfights in the United States than any dogfight in China.
I have never seen a dogfight, or heard of one, in the 20 years I lived in a
Chinese society. And though it does exist, at least as far as my reading
went (no more than anyone else’s), I have never seen any restaurant (and
I’ve been in hundreds) that serves cat or dog meat or monkey brain (although
some do keep live fish in tanks). I have, however, seen live meat markets
(since there was no refrigeration), and it was not pleasant (as I suspect
all pre-refrigeration meat markets would be).
When the four Canadian sealers downed some
weeks ago, I have likewise encountered the word “karma”, but at least the
“victims” were the actual seal killers. “You live by the sword, you die by
the sword.” The point to be made is that not all Canadians are seal killers,
so if Canada suffers a natural disaster and people in other countries
rejoice saying that “Canadians are seal killers”, they are just plain wrong,
callous and loveless Let’s reflect that all countries have their own
skeletons – the Canadian seal massacre, the Spanish bullfight, the American
factory farm, the English fox hunt, the Japanese dolphin slaughter, Japanese
and Norwegian whaling, European and American trophy and recreational
hunting, the South African elephant cull, the Brazilian rainforest
destruction, the French Foie Gras, the Thai cockfight, the Australian
kangaroo extermination… Are we to rejoice whenever one of these countries
suffer an earthquake or a tsunami, and thousands of innocent people die?
Now in China, at least 18,000 people have
died, and counting, most being innocent people and children, some of them
being animal lovers. Recall the Chinese dog massacre, there were more
Chinese people, mostly women, holding on to their dogs, in tears, than there
were officials clubbing the dogs (see the slideshow in
And, let’s not forget, many of animals are
victims too! So, rejoice away, if you don't care.
A true animal rights activist is motivated
first and foremost by compassion. No one with true compassion can possibly
rejoice in the face of the enormous suffering unfolding before our eyes,
anywhere in the world.
Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE)
Global Emergency Operation (GEO)
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