I've always appreciated the Olympic Games as a venue where it's possible to put aside politics and unite as a true, peaceful world community. There was no greater example of this than in 1996, here in Atlanta, when Israeli and Palestinian athletes marched into the Olympic stadium together. But when you hear about things like this, it makes me want to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
PETA has sent out the call for all those who care about animals rights to send a message to China about their recent mass killings of dogs and cats (even those vaccinated for rabies) to fight an outbreak of rabies. While I realize that we here in the United States aren't perfect on this issue, we at least have the freedom to stand up against intolerable acts like the ones that are being commtitted in China.
Regardless as to how you might feel about PETA, read this excerpt of an email that I received from them. And please consider voicing your displeasure to Chinese officials:
Throughout the month of August, I'll be sending you breaking news about the treatment of companion animals around the world as well as easy ways that you can help stop animal abuse TODAY. As you may know, officials in Southwest China ordered the extermination of more than 50,000 dogs in late July after three people died from rabies. Among the animals slaughtered were up to 4,000 dogs who—despite being immunized against rabies—were dragged into the street and strangled or clubbed to death in front of their families. These awful deaths illustrate the Chinese government's insensitivity to animals as well as its complete lack of planning. There are humane ways to prevent rabies outbreaks. Yet China has rejected our offers to help implement procedures—including a simple four-point plan—that would avoid such cruel killings.China has no animal welfare laws whatsoever. That's why millions of dogs and cats are strangled with wire nooses and beaten to death every year so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets for American and European consumers. China is the world's largest supplier of animal skin and fur—and it doesn't draw the line when it comes to domestic animals and family pets. The following are ways that you can help dogs and cats in China right now:
Contact the Chinese government and demand that it halt the further slaughter of dogs. Urge the Chinese government to enact a strict anti-cruelty law immediately.
Don't let this massacre go unnoticed. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or post the news on your favorite blog. Let the world know about China's recent and shocking mass murder of dogs and the need for a cruelty-to-animals law in the world's most populated country.
Don't buy or wear fur. China supplies more than half of all finished fur garments that are imported into the United States. Because dog and cat fur is so deliberately mislabeled, the bottom line is that if you're buying fur, there's no way to tell whose skin you're wearing. And all animal lives are precious.Right now, China is listening to those who speak out for animals. After intense international pressure, the Chinese government has just halted its plan to give foreigners licenses to hunt wild and endangered animals.
Adding your voice today to those demanding change in China could help millions of animals.
PETA is not calling for an Olympic boycott, just merely asking them to stop animal cruelty and enact laws that would protect animals. However, it is my hope that people will take into account the fact that while many of its citizens live in needless squaler, China is spending billions on state of the art stadia and sports facilities all over the country. It's a little hard to get into the Olympic spirit knowing that there is willful neglect of the citizenry only a few miles away. Neither human rights nor animal rights are a strong point of the government of China.