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HSI Condemns Government-Ordered Dog Killing in China

Humane Society International

YANGXIAN COUNTY, China — After earlier success ending government-initiated dog killing in China's major cities, Chinese animal protection groups and international animal advocacy groups, including Humane Society International, are now focusing on eliminating this cruel practice in the rest of the country.

HSI sent a letter Monday in conjunction with other international animal protection organizations to Chinese officials calling for an immediate end to a dog cull in Yangxian County.

"Dog culling is inhumane and ineffective," said Kelly O'Meara, director of International programs at HSI. "Whereas these cruel methods existed in the past, the modernizing China should have no tolerance for it. HSI has offered to assist in the training and implementation of humane programs to control disease and population growth, including vaccination and spay/neuter."

In May, a dog cull order was issued in Yangxian County (part of Hanzhong city in Shaanxi province). The order, hastily announced by the government via letter to residents, was meant to curb an alleged rabies epidemic in the county of some 340,000 people.

Dog killing squads did not just slaughter dogs on the streets, as owners of registered dogs had feared. Government orders demanded that dog owners kill their dogs within 48 hours or have them killed by the military police at a cost of 100 yuan, or $16 each, according to a copy of the letter obtained by HSI. Public resistance to the order was widespread. To crush the resistance, the county government required that no live dogs were allowed in districts assigned to the squad teams, animal activist groups in China tell HSI.

The Yangxian dog massacre has continued despite outcry from within China and abroad.  According to animal protections groups in Yangxian, some 20,000 dogs have been killed. Earlier, a dog cull in Heihe, Heilongjiang Province was stopped in response to mounting pressures from domestic groups and international organizations.


  • Many people locked their dogs inside the house for days fearful that they would never return, say animal activist groups in China.
  • As part of HSI efforts to prevent future dog massacres, HSI is reaching out to government officials responsible for the pet and homeless animal management in the country.
  • HSI is offering its experience and expertise to develop a humane management program in China for companion animals. HSI is also helping to empower and educate the many local animal welfare organizations on the ground in China dealing with these issues first hand.
  • HSI co-sponsored companion animal symposiums in China in 2007 and 2009. The symposiums have been used to assist capacity building of China's growing animal protection groups and to facilitate positive policy change in urban animal management.
  • In December 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao ordered an immediate halt to the dog culls taking place at that time. Since then, dog culls have not been adopted in China's major cities. The current Yangxian killings are a reminder that dog culls are yet to be ended elsewhere in China.


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Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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