China's Dog Fight

How Animal Rights Groups Got Their Way

Dogs being sold at a market in Lanzhou, Gansu province, China, February 15, 2015. Aly Song / Reuters

In recent years, the space for political dissent in China has shrunk considerably, and yet the animal rights movement has made surprising progress. Last month, thousands of Chinese netizens stormed the Internet with angry posts about the kidnapping of a seeing-eye dog named Qiaoqiao to save it from its likely fate of becoming dog meat. After 35 hours, the thief set the dog free, along with an anonymous note asking for forgiveness.

The stigma attached to China’s consumption of animals that are usually kept as pets is well known, as are Chinese activists’ efforts to end the practice. Every year, ten million dogs are slaughtered for food, 70 percent of which are believed to be stolen household pets. In 2011, animal rights activists succeeded in shutting down a centuries-old annual dog-eating festival in Zhejiang. However, the country’s most popular dog-eating festival, in Yuling, which began in 2010 to attract tourists, is still

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