From the SCMP.
[quote]Officials from Jining city in central Shandong province on Thursday said they would kill all dogs within five kilometres of villages where rabies was found, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The measures come in response to the deaths of 16 people in the city from rabies in the past eight months.
It gave no estimate of how many animals would be killed but said the city had a total population of about 500,000 dogs.[/quote]
The only positive in this story is that there has been a huge outcry on mainland internet chat sites, like Sina.com. There is hope.
[quote]China’s dog slaughter raises pet lovers’ hackles
By Mure Dickie in Beijing
August 4 2006 19:47
The government-ordered slaughter of tens of thousands of dogs has shone a spotlight on the changing feelings of ordinary Chinese towards their canine companions – and exposed the officials behind the killings to unusual criticism.
The “dog-beating storm” was ignited this week by newspaper reports from south-western Yunnan province, where 54,429 dogs – 99 per cent of the Mouding county canine population – were destroyed after three local people died of rabies.
To track down hidden dogs, officials set off firecrackers and banged pots during the night, then followed the sound of barking.
[b]But human howls of complaint have proved harder to silence. Internet discussion boards have hummed with outrage and protest has even spilled into state newspapers usually reluctant to criticise government actions directly.
Indiscriminate slaughter was an uncivilised way to respond to rabies, wrote contributor Lin Weiping in the official Beijing Youth Daily.
“This is a classic case of lazy government,” Mr Lin wrote. “When local authorities set such an example of barbarity and govern so lazily, what happiness will the common people have to speak of?” [/b]
The killings have extra resonance in what is China’s Year of the Dog. The reaction has highlighted changing attitudes since the animal’s last appearance in the zodiacal cycle 12 years ago.
In 1994, dog-beating squads were common even in big cities and the People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, was demanding an end to the newly popular but “uncivilised and unhealthy” practice of keeping dogs as pets.
Beaters in Yunnan province alone killed 10m dogs in the three years to 1991, state media reported then, with no hint of protest. China’s urban middle classes have since become hugely enthusiastic pet owners and are increasingly open to ideas of animal rights and restrained government.
Still, the scale of the current debate – fuelled on Thursday by plans for another slaughter in eastern Shandong province – also reflects unusual tolerance by government censors, usually quick to shut down media criticism of authorities.
Not all the comment has been critical. Many columnists and internet users have said human interests should trump those of animals.
And there has been little discussion of the canine role in Chinese cuisine.
Dogs’ culinary potential has been a comfort to some victims of the Mouding county cull. A local news-paper quoted one resident as saying he hanged his two dogs on government orders, but then checked them for signs of rabies. “Inspection showed they were very healthy, so he invited some good friends over to eat dog meat,” it said. [/quote]