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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 www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr )

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)
www.HOPE-CARE.org 
www.MySpace.com/AnthonyMarr 
www.ARConference.org 

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