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On March 18th of this year a municipal court in Beijing sentenced human rights activist Hu Jia to three and a half years in prison for "subversion of state power".

The evidence against Hu included five Internet articles he wrote and two interviews he gave to foreign media, Li said. [snip]

A longtime critic of the government, Hu has been involved in civil liberties issues, from AIDS awareness to environmental rights and Tibet. In recent years, while largely under house arrest, he served as a hub linking activists across China with the outside world.

You can protest Hu's arrest via the Amnesty International website and I would encourage everyone to do so.

In the wake of the violent repression of the protests in Tibet the Chinese government seems to have decided to brook no dissent in the lead up to the Olympic Games. A number of other prominent dissidents have also been arrested and jailed including land activist Yang Chunlin and human rights defender Lu Gengsong.

Besides the crackdown on dissidents, another, less publicized crackdown is taking place in China. This time the victims are cats.

From the Daily Mail:

Thousands of pet cats in Beijing are being abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounts an aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Hundreds of cats a day are being rounded and crammed into cages so small they cannot even turn around.

Then they are trucked to what animal welfare groups describe as death camps on the edges of the city.

The cull comes in the wake of a government campaign warning of the diseases cats carry and ordering residents to help clear the streets of them.

China cat slaughter

And from the HSUS:

With the approach of the 2008 Summer Olympics, China is reportedly once again taking flawed measures in an effort to exhibit the image of an environmentally conscious and hygienic capital city to athletes and spectators this August. This time, officials have announced a mandate to rid Beijing of stray cats through a massive roundup and the planned destruction of hundreds of thousands of animals.

The government is warning citizens that the street cat population represents a health risk and Beijing residents, terrified of disease, are apparently putting even their own pets onto the streets for collection and extermination.

According to news reports, the eradication is already underway, with cats being captured, crowded into cages and taken to holding facilities on the outskirts of the city. Welfare groups in China are revealing that cats are being inhumanely killed or, in some cases, being left to die slowly in cramped cages from disease, neglect, or infection.

The roundup and slaughter of cats follows a similar massacre of dogs carried out in Beijing less than a year and a half ago:

On November 7, 2006, a dog-culling campaign began in Beijing, affecting large parts of the city.

Best Friends has been receiving emails from many individuals in Beijing and throughout China asking for help in stopping the campaign of seizing dogs. These calls for help state that private homes are being entered, and that people’s dogs are being removed, taken away and presumably being killed. Street dogs are also being rounded up.

In Beijing people are permitted to own one small dog. Small is defined as less than 35 cm (14"). The dog must be licensed.

City officials have begun entering people’s homes and confiscating all "illegal" dogs, that is those that are unlicensed, or larger than 14 inches or the "extra" dogs in homes with more than one dog.

Also being picked up by city agents are street dogs who are over 35 cm in height. Based on prior round-ups of dogs in Chinese cities, including recent round-ups in which dogs were killed with extreme brutality, it is widely believed that the dogs rounded up in Beijing are being killed, both the street dogs and the "owned" dogs.

It is estimated that there are approximately one million dogs in Beijing. Having dogs as companions has become popular in recent years among Chinese people, especially city-dwellers.

Not all Chinese are buying the government's claim that the cats represent a health menace. Some courageous people have come to the animals aid at great risk and sacrifice to themselves.

Retired doctor Hu Yuan, 80, runs one of the few remaining refuges for abandoned pets in her ramshackle home in the ancient Long Tou Jing area of Beijing.

She shares her tiny home with 250 abandoned cats and has taken in 70 over the past 12 months alone.

She pays for neutering and food from her pension and donations. She said: "If I don't take them in, the government will kill them.

"People believe what the government tells them and that is why they are abandoning more and more family pets."

She said the problem could be traced back to former president Jiang Zemin for the crackdown.

"He didn't like dogs so he decided to have dogs killed. But there was a bad reaction from the foreign media and they were pressured to stop.

"Now they have stopped killing dogs but the new victims are cats. It is all connected to the Olympics."

There seems to be a widespread callousness (although by no means universal as the quotation above makes very clear) toward animals in Chinese culture, the origins of which I cannot explain.  Perhaps it is rooted in overpopulation, poverty, the dehumanizing brutality with which the Chinese people have themselves been treated, and China's long history of authoritarianism. Whatever the reason it is apparent to any foreigner visiting China.  In a recent article in Salon.com Ted Kerasote describes a ski trip to China in which he befriended a dog "who was a dead ringer for Lassie" near the camp for China's Olympic skiers where he and some other Americans were giving classes. Kerasote describes how he would play with the dog before setting out for the slopes in the morning and how it would faithfully be waiting for him when he returned. On the day before he  was scheduled to leave, his translator hushed the room where they were having lunch to explain that in honor of their American guests tonight's meal would be special.  At that point the chef entered the room holding by the tail the dog that Kerasote had befriended, "gutted from throat to groin". Later that evening when Kerasote declined to eat any of the dog meat and trying to explain "...I can't. I have too many friends at home who are dogs," his Chinese hosts stared at him in "disbelief" and "pity".

It is a fact, now well documented, that people who commit acts of violence against other people often began by harming animals. Consider this from the PAWS website:

Until recently, violence toward children, domestic violence, and elder violence were considered unrelated to violent acts toward animals. A growing body of research and evidence demonstrates that individuals who perpetrate acts of cruelty against animals rarely stop there. Animal abuse can be a warning sign of future serious violent behavior, especially among young offenders. Increasingly, child protection and social service agencies, mental health professionals and educators regard animal abuse as a significant form of aggressive and antisocial behavior, and consider it an important red flag in identifying other violent behavior.

According to anthropologist, Margaret Mead:

One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.

Will we let the Chinese government get away with it? Beijing is being "cleaned up" for the games.  That means temporarily closing down factories that pollute too much, shipping homeless people out of the city, drastically lowering the fares on the subways so that the poor will disappear underground and stay off the buses, trying to teach Taxi drivers a few words of English and how to smile and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats while simultaneously locking up the bloggers and human rights activists in China who might protest these and other things.

I love the Olympics, the pageantry, the internationalism, the competition and the camaraderie, but these Olympics should be moved to another venue because they are a sporting Potemkin Village. The increase in the standard of living in China over the last 20 years has been impressive, but in no way should we grant the Chinese oligarchs the acceptance they so deeply crave.  We should not be blind to the underlying reality that China is still a brutal dictatorship where animals and humans are merely interchangeable cogs in the machinery of state capitalism.

UPDATE: If you want to let the Chinese government know what you think of this policy you can find phone numbers and emails for the Chinese embassy and consulates here.

Originally posted to JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 05:55 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  No tip for blatant display of racism (2+ / 2-)
      Recommended by:
      mikeE, Jacques
      Hidden by:
      JohnnyRook, cactusflinthead

      See my post below.

      •  Wow, that's really brave of you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drag0n

        Instead of answering my question on the authenticity of the picture and the story that is based on it, you HR my comment. Do you have the courage to answer my question whether your story is fabricated (not necessarily by you)?

        •  The story isn't based on the picture. It's based (3+ / 0-)

          on reporting from multiple sources all cited in the diary.  Your reasoning is specious. Even if the photo is from some other city it doesn't change the argument which is based on multiple credible sources.

          "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

          by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:56:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your sources are not credible (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drag0n

            For the simple fact that I spend a month in Beijing every year, staying at an apartment complex. I see dogs and cats from my neighbors everyday. There had never been any "masacras" or police roundups of cats and dogs. All you need is to get a license. To get that you pay a steep fee. Keeping dogs can cats without licenses is illegal.

            It's like western media never lies...

      •  how well does the Chinese government (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnyRook

        pay for astroturfing Chinese propaganda on blogs? No need to do currency conversion, we can find xe.com and do it ourselves.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:50:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And by the way (0+ / 0-)

      The picture you showed is not in Beijing. It's in Guangzhou. The distance between the two cities is like between New York and St. Louis. There is no reason that they would round up cats in Guangzhou for the Olympics in Beijing.

      Please tell us the real story behind the picture. Otherwise I can only attribute your "mistake" as due to malicious racial hatred.

      •  I have looked at some of your diaries (5+ / 0-)

        and you are obviously an apologist for the brutal Chinese dictatorship and the brutality it has practiced in Tibet. Nothing that you have to say here has any value whatsoever.  Shame on you.

        "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

        by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:52:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Limbaugh tactic again (0+ / 0-)

          Anyone disagreeing with you is automatic unamerica, marxist, or something like that. You obviously haven't read all of my diaries.

          •  I've read enough of your recent comments to (3+ / 0-)

            .... draw the conclusion that you're either a professional "minder" of the bloggosphere for the People's Republic of China, or you're scared witless that if we say anything negative about certain policies of the Chinese government that they're going to come and get you.  Because your viewpoint is not American democratic.  

            You throw around the term "racist" this and "racist" that, and "everybody hates the Chinese."  No, not everybody hates the Chinese, but if you can't tell the difference between freedom of speech and freedom to criticize the government and being a racist, then you totally don't get or understand anything about American culture, which includes the freedom to do just that in order to effect a change in government policy for the better.

            Of course, you're still stuck in that Communist mindset where if some idea didn't come from top of the hierarchy, it's not a legitimate idea.  

            What I read from your recent comments are almost direct quotes from what I've already read from other Chinese people speaking to newspapers and television, and in the comments section of the SF Chronicle online,  claiming that there should be absolutely no protests of the Olympic Torch Relay because to do so is "racist"  or "dishonorable."

            Look, I'm going to be frank with you, a lot of mainland Chinese think that non- Chinese humans are dumber than dirt and culturally inferior, so let's cut the nonsense here.  But they won't ever say it to anyone's face, because that would be impolite.

            When people disagreed with you, you were smart enough and mean enough to mock them.

            My culture finds your attitude towards animals dishonorable, even if you eat animals that I don't, (I am not a vegetarian, by the way)  you should not be making fun of or taunting Americans or other cultures that do not eat certain animals.

            My culture also finds your government's attitude towards other people's religious beliefs as extremely dishonorable, especially as to the killing of non violent, peaceful religious clergy, who teach people to honor their ancestors.

            If the Chinese government wants to do bad things to its subjects in other countries, things that show the American people, who love freedom, that they do not respect freedom, and the American people show their disaproval, then that does not mean that anyone talking about it here is a racist against the Chinese people.  It means we think your government sucks.  Your government is not "Chinese." Your government is not a race, but a system.  Your government is not a democracy, either, it actively censors everything, and it is overstepping its authority when it tries to censor freedom of speech in this country.  Our freedom of speech is tied to our right to freedom of religion, some people would go so far as to claim you cannot have one without the other.

            China cannot be the World's Host and not expect people to look at everything China does in the world.

  •  Chairman Meow is sad! (24+ / 0-)

    Even more sadly, this will hardly be the worst story that comes out before the Games regarding the Chinese "cleanup" of Olympic sites.

    We're pro-choice on everything! - Libertarian slogan

    by CA Libertarian on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 05:59:42 PM PDT

  •  I concede that it is possible to leverage two (5+ / 0-)

    issues at the same time, but in all honesty, as much as I like cats, they're fine too, my sympathy is much more with the journalists and the protesters being locked up, the people being fed bullshit propaganda (and many of them know it for what it is, too), the workers whose labor is being exploited for inadequate compensation and with no safety controls... and so on.

    "I decided to force-feed him, but he wouldn't eat... I hated myself for making him eat, but I hated him more for not eating."

    by Shaviv on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:00:18 PM PDT

  •  Is this true? (4+ / 0-)

    I've been to Beijing twice in the last four years. There were very, very few cat and dog pets, but the licence fees were extremely high and only the very rich could afford them.

    From my own experience, I am really dubious of this information.

  •  Wow, that's disturbing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, KenBee

    Imagine if we found out that CitiBank was doing this sort of thing.

    Would we still be okay with "borrowing" from them?

  •  Bleughhh!!! I almost lost my dinner here!! (10+ / 0-)

    The poor cats and dogs and humans who try to protect them. This is so inhuman its insane.

  •  If I read more China diaries I'll turn racist (8+ / 0-)

    Seriously. WTF is wrong with China?

    They're the world's sweatshop, guilty of cultural genocide against not only the Tibetans but their own 5000 year old culture as well, on track to being the world's biggest polluter, one of the world's worst human rights violators, determined to emulate the very worst habits of the West, and so on.

  •  Feral cats are nasty. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnnyRook, Jacques, CA Libertarian

    It's a shame they're doing what they're doing; they should've started catching, spaying, and releasing years ago.  But, then, this is China, so it's not especially surprising.

    "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

    by burrow owl on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:05:27 PM PDT

    •  It's not just the feral cats which as you (6+ / 0-)

      point out can be dealt with humanely.  It's this nonsense about SARS that has ignorant people abandoning their pets to be rounded up and taken to these death camps where they apparently just let them starve to death.

      "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

      by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:07:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, the ones you catch, spay and release (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drag0n

      still wantonly kill. The SF Bay area has gone through hell and not come back yet as far as our native bird, rodent, etc. population because of people's damn cats. Most of them aren't hungry, people just let "little Fluffy" out for the night and i find cadavers in my garden in the morning.

      Never mind China, when are we going to do something here?

      "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

      by Jacques on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:02:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  China has a terrible record with cats and dogs (8+ / 0-)

    but the U.S. euthanizes somewhere between 4 and 10 million cats and dogs a year, and kills billions of animals for food.  U.S. factory farms are just as, if not more, horrific.  I don't defend China, but it's difficult to criticize them when our own record is so bad.

    •  I criticize all of them. Factory farming is a (8+ / 0-)

      moral stain on the nation. And I don't believe in shelters that kill dogs and cats. But these cats in China aren't being euthanized, they're beaten to death or left to starve. It's not just the killing, it's the suffering that is so appalling. I won't be silent about China just because we also commit sins.  We're nuts, but they're even crazier.

      "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

      by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:16:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seconded on the Factory Farming. (5+ / 0-)

        That practice is only defensible with virtually no moral consideration of the animal.

        That said, I hope the Chinese treatment of animals raises some sympathy for the poor little guys in America too.

        Obama/Richardson '08! *Richardson as VP (1) latinos, (2) SW states, (3) foreign policy exp, (4) exec exp

        by Tetris on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:26:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with your points, (5+ / 0-)

        and with your outrage.  I've been involved in animal rights issues for 20 years.  I just get wary of the tendency to criticize other cultures for their treatment of animals as if we in the U.S. have the right attitude about animals.  We don't. And we are more likely to have an effect benefitting animals by criticizing our government and our culture than in focusing our attention and outrage on the Chinese.

        That said, I appreciate the diary and the information, and hope it makes us more reflective about our own record regarding animals and the relationship to human rights. If the moral worth of nations can truly be measured by their treatment of animals, and if treatment of animals foretells treatment of human beings, then we should see the schizophrenic attitude of the U.S. toward freedom and human rights as a reflection of our schizophrenic attitude towards animals: some can be treated as objects and food, while others are loving family members.

        •  We've all got a lot of work to do. (3+ / 0-)

          This is such an egregious example.  I hope that discussion of this question beside informing people of these inexcusable acts, may lead people to look a little closer to home as well, particularly at factory farming.

          The moral progress of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals. - Gandhi

          "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

          by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:55:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Brown dog is most expensive, but apparently (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    tastes better. Personally, I can't see the difference. Brown, Black and White dog are all stacked up in crates at the market, and they all like the same to me. But, brown apparently tastes better.

    •  wow, that was a poorly executed comment. sorry! (4+ / 0-)

      Was just recounting what a Taiwanese friend told me.

      •  I was going to say... WOW. :-P (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jeff in nyc

        Obama/Richardson '08! *Richardson as VP (1) latinos, (2) SW states, (3) foreign policy exp, (4) exec exp

        by Tetris on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:26:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, you're apparently right. My parents (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drag0n, CSI Bentonville, Justus

        were teaching in China recently and were served dog, albeit out of season, as a special order, because they happened to mention that they'd never had dog before.

        It doesn't taste like chicken.

        People eat chicken. People eat cows. People eat sheep. People eat dogs. People don't eat sheep dogs, I think because the sheep are right there with the sheep dogs...

        I was in a restaurant once, and someone dared me to eat a snail.  Well, actually, they didn't dare me, it was more like, "The escargot are very good tonight..."

        I looked it up afterward, the stuff was literally 40% butter by weight. I ate a half a loaf of bread just mopping up the sauce, and it was that really crusty bread...

        Oh, yeah. So people eat dogs and cats, and snails. When the Allies took Paris, there wasn't a pigeon, rat, rabbit, cat or dog on the street. Cities in the US sent pigeons to Paris to replenish the stock. The first tree or four batches didn't live to reproduce...

        "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

        by Jacques on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:12:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  people don't eat sheep dogs... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JohnnyRook

          ...because sheep dogs are needed to herd sheep.  People don't eat the horse that pulls their plow.  some animals have much greater value in the work they can do than in their meat.

          Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

          by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:29:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is so sad. I can't stand it. n/t (5+ / 0-)
  •  I wish they'd do that here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, Jacques

    More humanely of course but domestic cats are having a terrible impact on our songbird populations.

    •  Huh? You wish they'd do what here? (6+ / 0-)

      I'm a birder and a cat lover. There are ways to minimize the effects of cats on birds without lying to your population about health risks and then massacring them.  China's been offered help with spaying and neutering, but hasn't been interested.  The point is that what they are doing is callous and cruel.

      "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

      by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:20:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spay and nueter is the way to go. (6+ / 0-)

        Then we can avoid an overpopulation of pets AND the "need" of having to kill them.

        Obama/Richardson '08! *Richardson as VP (1) latinos, (2) SW states, (3) foreign policy exp, (4) exec exp

        by Tetris on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:27:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, and keeping the murderous vermin (0+ / 0-)

          away from the songbird population. Spay, neuter and lock 'em up. These sadistic critters kill for sport.

          "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

          by Jacques on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:14:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  umm....no. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tetris, JohnnyRook

            They don't kill for sport.  They kill because they're predators.  They kill because it's their nature to kill.  A couple thousand years of domestication can't erase millions of years of evolution.

            Cats, from the smallest house cat to the largest tigers, are APEX predators.  They are the most efficient and the most effective killing machines that roam the land.  Not because they're evil, but because that is how they evolved.

            Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

            by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:07:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  No (4+ / 0-)

      That is nature. Cats do that. That's no reason to kill them.

    •  It would be even better for the environment if (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christin, planetclaire4, KevinBarry16

      we started killing newborn humans right after birth, you know? Asshole???

      •  No, it would be better if we reproduced in (0+ / 0-)

        sustainable numbers. Asshole.

        "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

        by Jacques on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:16:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So what? Kill em all? bullshit...n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christin, JohnnyRook
    •  Oh please. (4+ / 0-)

      Then stop eating.
      Because it's the pesticides that are killing all the songbirds, but it's so much easier to blame cats right?
      Don't buy any kind of fruit that is not in season - because anytime you do, and it comes from Mexico, or South America, they are not only killing the songbirds, they have already made many extinct.
      If you make sacrifices to keep birds alive, then that's a different story.
      But most don't.
      By the way, factory farms not only brutalize animals in the most inhumane way possible, but they pollute the environment, kill off wildlife from the waste runoff they produce, and contribute immensely to global warming.
      I assume you don't eat meat to save the songbirds?

      "Oh no...you changed your hair color? It's just so dark. You like it? And with your skin tone?" My Beloved Mom, December 25 2007, once again on notice.

      by Christin on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:34:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's both actually... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnyRook

        Definitely pesticides in South America as recently outlined in the NYT but not limited to south of the border as we certainly use great amounts including genetically tampered crops that are registered pesticides themselves since every cell they produce contain insecticides which poison what birds and fish eat not to mention mono-culture on soil devoid of life is not conducive to bird life.

        Also, windows kill millions of birds as they fly into them and in fact, fallen birds who've knocked themselves out likely often get blamed on cats.

        Bird-window crashes are unfortunately common. Mine was an extreme case; usually collisions involve small birds, such as finches, that fail to break the glass and fall unnoticed to the ground. Sometimes the birds are merely stunned and recover in a few moments. Often, however, they die. The number of window-killed dead are not trivial: realistic estimates range as high as 100 million per year.

        But cats can be devastating to bird populations too. However, we probably do more collateral damage with our choices as you touched on than the felines.

        Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

        by CSI Bentonville on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 05:55:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  My yard is full of birds (3+ / 0-)

      and cats, too. The birds stay up in the trees, or else. I'm sure we're a net producer of birds, in spite of a few that fall prey. We have two adopted, spayed feral cats that we dearly love. You would be amazed at how many rats, mice and gophers they kill, and leave on our patio.

      Most signature lines are dumb. Why should I be different?

      by Karl Rover on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:29:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  um... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnyRook

      ...blame it on cat owners who can't be bothered to stick a freaking bell on their cat before letting them outside.  sure, there are wild feral cats, but there are a lot more domestic cats roaming the streets (even in places where it's supposedly illegal to do so).

      Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

      by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ethnic cleansing a great Olympic tradition (4+ / 0-)

    Yes, there will be more stories coming out of Beijing.

    Stories like these.

    Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta - each scoured tens of thousands of "undesirables" from the area in and around the Olympics venues.

    Beijing looks to set a new standard.

    Cats?  Just a sideshow for the main event.

    We're pro-choice on everything! - Libertarian slogan

    by CA Libertarian on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:20:13 PM PDT

  •  I don't think even the totalitaian regime can (4+ / 0-)

    achieve this.

    Beijing is being "cleaned up" for the games.  That means temporarily closing down factories that pollute too much, shipping homeless people out of the city, drastically lowering the fares on the subways so that the poor will disappear underground and stay off the buses

    Love that "power of the purse!" It looks so nice up there on the mantle (and not the table) next to the "subpoena power."

    by Sacramento Dem on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:22:13 PM PDT

  •  New strains of the flu often mutate in China (5+ / 0-)

    because of the way Chinese farmers tend to raise both pigs and ducks so near their homes.  Yet now their government is calling domestic cats dangerous disease vectors.

    Tell me...if you were a health freak, what would you rather have living right outside your bedroom window, a cat or a pig?  

    People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. --Otto von Bismarck

    by Ice Blue on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:22:55 PM PDT

  •  Awesome diary. (6+ / 0-)

    This needed to be said. This is terrible.

    Obama/Richardson '08! *Richardson as VP (1) latinos, (2) SW states, (3) foreign policy exp, (4) exec exp

    by Tetris on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 06:23:21 PM PDT

  •  I'm no longer surprised by the racism (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    mikeE, Jacques
    Hidden by:
    cactusflinthead

    displayed here. It's now nonstop. While we're at it, let's talk about eating dogs and other backward habits of Chinese.

    Dog meat is a real delicacy in China. It tastes better than donkey, and more expensive because it's harder to get. But usually this would not be a problem because you can always bring your own dog to the restaurant and have them cook it for you.

    Another delicacy that Chinese love is the earthworm. There are several ways to cook the earthworm. But earthworms don't really taste good. They're usually used in traditional Chinese medicine, and sometimes mixed into other dishes. And they often don't tell you about that so be careful if you go to a Chinese restaurant.

    But nothing, I mean no food in the world can compare to maggots. In fact, maggots are among the best source of protein, better than beef or pork. The way to get them, is to take a big piece of fat pork, hang it outside under the sun. Let it stay there for a few days. Magggots will start to grow. Then take the pork to a pot with boiling water. Use a brush to brush the maggots into the water and cook them. Yummy!

    You know, the reason we have flu every year, is because of the backward way Chinese raise their chickens and ducks. They raise them in their backyards! No wonder flu viruses get passed from their farm animals to humans (did I say humans? At this rate shouldn't we have another word reserved for these uncivilized Chinese?) Everybody knows that you're not supposed to raise chickens in your backyard! You should raise them in chicken factories! And you should feed them antibiotics so they don't get sick!

    After reading so many anti-China diaries, if you still have not turned into a racist, something is wrong with your sense of morality. I mean western morality of course. Chinese definitely don't such a concept.

    •  You've completely misread the diary and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justus, planetclaire4

      apparently not read the other comments.  This is a diary about abuse of power and cruelty.  It has nothing to do with race. It's not about people eating dogs although I do find that abhorrent because I believe there exists a special contract between humans and domesticated animals, particulary dogs and cats.  No, this is a diary about cruelty which is what it is when you lie to people about the health danger posed by their pets so that you can destroy those pets in order to lie to other people (Olympic tourists) in an attempt to convince them that your country is a giant Disneyland.

      It's about the cruelty of slaughtering dogs because it's cheaper than giving them rabies vaccines.

      If you'd read the comments, you'd know that I absolutely condemn factory farming and consider it a moral abomination.  As to the Chinese (and some other countries') practice of living in close proximity to their barnyard animals, it is simply mistaken and is, no doubt about it, one of the reasons that so many diseases spread from animals to humans in China.

      You are quite simply wrong that this is racism and your sarcastic recital of Chinese culinary practices that are off-putting to Westerners is no proof or substitute for a real argument.

      "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

      by JohnnyRook on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:39:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have no objection... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnyRook

      ...to the Chinese choice of diet.  If they want to eat dogs that is certainly their right.  But it is difficult for me to see the value in eating a dog.

      The domestic dog has so many more utilitarian and asthetic functions than simply eating.  It seems to me to be a waste of a perfectly useful animal.  Same goes for cats (tho their uses lean more for the asthetic than the utilitarian, a cat can certainly its keep if it needed to)

      Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

      by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:25:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Chinese government.... (4+ / 0-)

    ...has always courted my scorn. I remember lobbying Bill Clinton to press for the release of Wei Jinsheng prior to the State visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. I went to the free Tibet rallys that Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) put together in the 90's, suffered the vapid speeches of Richard Gere and all that crap but this...BUT THIS!

    This really pisses me off to no end. The people can stand up like they did at the Tiananmen rallies, like Wei Jinsheng did when he wrote his essays on democracy in Beijing and later from frozen gulags. But the fucking cats!!!

    The poor sweet kitties have no voice, no thumbs with which to pull the cages apart. Nothing to save them. They can't even use thir sweet purring and cuddling to sway the stupid humans in their favor.

    This really sucks. Depressing.

    Fuck the Olympics. Fuck whoever would have a kittie holocaust!

    "Good to be here, good to be anywhere." --Keith Richards

    by bradreiman on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:28:19 PM PDT

    •  The diarist is either lying or has been fooled (4+ / 3-)

      The picture he's showing is in Guangzhou, not Beijing. And Guanzhou's meat market has been selling cats ever since the city existed. So this has nothing to do with the government. If you want to hate, you'll have to hate Chinese people.

      •  Excuse the pun but... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnyRook, Justus, planetclaire4

        ...that is tortured logic.

        And you know that is Guangzhou how? Oh yeah right.

        I love the Chinese people, it's the Government that sucks! Don't even get me started on the cat for food situation. It's hipocritical to condenm the Chinese for eating cat as I am a meat eater myself but...the tortured way they kill the cats is medeival at best.

        "Good to be here, good to be anywhere." --Keith Richards

        by bradreiman on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:11:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa, if this is not abuse of HR (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know what is.

      •  I can't be sure... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CSI Bentonville, JohnnyRook

        ...so please do forgive me if I sound trite and sarcastic, I just want to understand.

        Are you implying that cruelty to animals is a distinguishing characteristic of the Chinese people?

        And if so, are you implying the condemnation of animal cruelty occuring in China is, as a result, racist?

        Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

        by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:19:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, although not "distinguishin characterstic" (0+ / 0-)

          but you're close. And I find your questions offensive.

          We view animals mainly as a food source. If you are going to eat them, then go ahead and eat them. Don't pretend that you can build an emotional bond with the animals before you eat them. I know what I said is incorrect according to western morality but who said that we have to enforce western morality to Chinese people?

          •  raising an animal for food... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JohnnyRook

            ...and then eating it isn't the same as animal cruelty.  

            You can raise an animal with the intent of eating it without subjecting it to cruel and inhumane living conditions or killing it in a slow and painful manner.

            It's not about developing an emotional attachment to the animal, it's about respecting the animal's life enough not to cause suffering to it.  Whenever an animal is dependant upon a human being (whether it's a domesticated pet or a food animal) it is only sensible that the human in posession of that animal take responsibility for it's care.  

            So when I ask if you are asserting animal cruelty is a characteristic of Chinese culture, I am not referring to the consumption of dogs and cats as food.  I am referring to subjecting animals to suffering while it's alive.  Now, I don't believe that is a characteristic of Chinese culture anymore than it's a characteristic of American culture, but it exists in both and should be condemned in both.

            Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

            by DawnG on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:11:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is where we disagree and most Chinese would (0+ / 0-)

              disagree with you.

              You can call it whatever you want. I think it's prejudice but you think it's morality.

              BTW, have you ever bought live (but cut) flowers from a store? Don't you know that plants have feelings too (except they different than animals' feelings)?

              •  sympathy isn't a racial... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JohnnyRook

                ...quality; it is a human quality.  It is so much a part of who we are as human beings, that it's lack is considered a mental illness (sociopathy). It is also the foundation of morality.  Being able to look at a creature and imagine what they are feeling by putting ourselves in their situation and imagining what we'd feel.

                I find your response rather surprising considering how strongly practiced buddhism is in southeast asia.  Being ambivilent to suffering is about as much a part of buddhism as war is a part of christianity.  (and granted there are some pretty war-mongering christians in the world).

                I can't help but wonder how the different distinct sub-cultures within China differ in these matters of animal treatment.  I know enough to know there is not ONE China, anymore than there is ONE great britain.  China is a collection of different nations that regardless of having been united centuries ago, still maintain a distinct identity and culture.

                As for flowers, you're kidding right?  We live in a world where ALL life exists only by the consumtion of other life.  Unless you buy into that breathist nonsense from that lady in Australia (or was it new zealand), you can't exist as a life form on this planet without consuming plants and/or animals.  So please don't stray from the subject at hand with false equivilancies.

                Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

                by DawnG on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:29:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sympathy to other people, yes. (0+ / 0-)

                  But sympathy to the animals you eat? I'd call that hypocracy. Legend had it that a buddhist saint once sacrificed himself to feed a tiger. Yes, that's how we were taught. But in the legend the tiger could talk. So we understand that the tiger was just other people, people who are different than us. That's why we need to have sympathy to our enemies.

                  But definitely not to our food. That's a cultural difference. You can have your morality.

              •  You constantly try to confuse the issue by (0+ / 0-)

                focusing on irrelevant detail (where the photo was taken) or by attempting to shift the focus of the discussion (plants have feelings too, any criticism of the Chinese government is racist, etc).

                You have never directly responded to any of the substantive criticisms that I raised and I don't expect you to this time either, but I'll lay them out for you one last time.

                1. It is immoral to lie to people to make them fearful of their pets and to cause them to abandon them or kill them out of ignorance.
                1. It is immoral to round up cat and dogs and keep them in miserable conditions until you either beat them to death or they die of disease or starvation, because it is immoral to cause unnecessary suffering.
                1. It is immoral to arrest people and incarcerate them for criticizing the government.  Hu Jia received a jail sentence of three and a half years for doing what you are doing here, blogging, although we both know that his real crime is revealing errors or abuses that the Chinese government wishes to hide. You, I gather, are unlikely to do that.

                These actions would be immoral anywhere in the world. Some people do cruelly beat animals to death in the United States, which is immoral.  Some states allow cock fighting which is immoral.  The American system of factory farms is immoral. The Bush administration started and continues to fight an immoral war in Iraq.

                These things are immoral anywhere, just as rape, murder and genital mutilation are immoral anywhere. Race has nothing to do with it.

                By the way, factory farms are very secretive places because the people who own and run them know that most people would be appalled at the way the animals are treated there. The Chinese government tries to hide that it is abusing animals or repressing freedom of speech (no reporters were allowed at Hu Jia's trial) because it knows these actions are wrong and would be widely condemned if they were widely known. Factory owners and government bureaucrats hide things because they want to cover up their mistakes or crimes and to enjoy a reputation that they do not deserve.

                When I criticize people for causing unnecessary suffering to people or animals or for stifling freedom of expression, is is not an expression of racism, rather it is voicing concern for universal morality that knows no national boundaries.

                Please, either respond to these specific criticisms by explaining why it is okay to lie, to be cruel and to throw people in jail for dissent or shut up and quit wasting our time.

                "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama

                by JohnnyRook on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:41:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The only reason I'm here (0+ / 0-)

                  is not because I care about what you think.

                  I'm here because of the goal of dkos, electing Democrats. And I've working very hard towards that goal. The racial hatred displayed recently by the American left risks turning a solid democratic voting block, Chinese Americans, permanently to the other side. You don't have to believe what I say here. Just watch it happen.

  •  Don't we collect, kill stray cats/dogs here? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm thinking about what, aside from letting the situation get out of hand (which isn't really very humane, either) China is doing differently than any big city in the first world in collecting stray cats and exterminating them.

    Another week ends in the Rezko trial. Still no mention of Obama.

    by Inland on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 07:53:47 PM PDT

  •  Alright, everyone who is not a vegan SYFPH! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm talking shoes, belts of leather? STFU!

    Like milk? STFU!

    Eaten honey in your life? SYFPH!

    Wear silk? Stepped on a roach in your apartment? Slapped a mosquito? GO TO HELL YOU MONSTER! YOU SHOULD DIE THE DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS!!

    And anyone who lets their damn cats out at night, I want songbirds and possums and rabbits released into your neighborhoods in atonement for your damn murderous minions depredations on the environment.

    "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

    by Jacques on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:25:37 PM PDT

    •  Your arguements are really weak (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnyRook, Justus

      Cows are not killed by producing milk.

      Bees are not killed by harvesting honey.

      Roaches and mosquitos are pests and disease vectors, not companion animals like dogs and cats. Possums aren't native in places like CA and OR and don't belong here anyways. Songbirds are more decimated by habitat destruction here and in Central and South America than by cats.

      Get a grip, man. You're getting pathetic.

      Most signature lines are dumb. Why should I be different?

      by Karl Rover on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 08:51:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, cows do die for milk production (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnyRook

        a cow has to have a calf to be able to produce milk. Since there's little use for the male offspring they are often disposed of quickly either as veal or perhaps TV dinners. From wikipedia:

        The fourth compartment of the stomach of slaughtered milk-fed calves is the source of rennet.

        Which is a component of many cheeses especially commercial ones. There are vegetarian sources.

        And those cows that were in the recent video that caused the repeal of 143 million pounds of beef recently (about two days worth of flesh for Americans since we eat 1/2 pound per day on average which even at half as much we'd still be the leaders of the world) were dairy cows that were no longer producing enough.

        Commercial dairy cows that are injected with Monsanto's growth hormone rBST/rGBH (Posilac) only last about half or less the time as cows that are well treated while well treated organic cows live nearly twice that even. So a cow producing for Organic Valley might put in 10 years, while a general cow goes to slaughter at 5 years, the cows in the huge factory dairy farms are lucky to make 3 years before they are quite literally worn out and then become soup and dog food.

        Meanwhile, their female offspring might be spared the frozen food department but because their mama's milk is money, they are fed replacement formulas that can include the blood of their brothers and aunts. And of course the whole reason downer cows are banned from the meat supply (on paper anyway) is because of Mad Cow which is from feeding cow to cow...

        ~~~~

        And bees certainly are mistreated too...

        You need look no farther than a California almond orchard to understand how these bees, which have become indispensable workers in the vast fields of industrial agriculture, could have gotten into such trouble. Like a great many other food crops, like an estimated one out of every three bites you eat, the almond depends on bees for pollination. No bees, no almonds. The problem is that almonds today are grown in such vast monocultures — 80 percent of the world’s crop comes from a 600,000-acre swath of orchard in California’s Central Valley — that, when the trees come into bloom for three weeks every February, there are simply not enough bees in the valley to pollinate all those flowers. For what bee would hang around an orchard where there’s absolutely nothing to eat for the 49 weeks of the year that the almond trees aren’t in bloom? So every February the almond growers must import an army of migrant honeybees to the Central Valley — more than a million hives housing as many as 40 billion bees in all.

        They come on the backs of tractor-trailers from as far away as New England. These days, more than half of all the beehives in America are on the move to California every February, for what has been called the world’s greatest “pollination event.” (Be there!) Bees that have been dormant in the depths of a Minnesota winter are woken up to go to work in the California spring; to get them in shape to travel cross-country and wade into the vast orgy of almond bloom, their keepers ply them with “pollen patties” — which often include ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and flower pollen imported from China. Because the pollination is so critical and the bee population so depleted, almond growers will pay up to $150 to rent a box of bees for three weeks, creating a multimillion-dollar industry of migrant beekeeping that barely existed a few decades ago. Thirty-five years ago you could rent a box of bees for $10. (Pimping bees is the whole of the almond business for these beekeepers since almond honey is so bitter as to be worthless.)

        Not to mention that pretty much over 40% of the honey comes from China:

        China continues to dominate world honey production

        02-Jul-2004 - Although the market for honey in China has fluctuated in recent years the country continues to be by far the leading producer in the world. And with per capita consumption set to rise, a recent report from Access Asia indicates that production will continue to increase in line with demands.

        Consumption of honey has risen continually in China since 1995, despite poor production levels in 1998 and 1999 caused by bad weather conditions and bee disease. But since then the sector has bounced back rapidly to reaffirm its domination of the world market.

        The total supply and distribution of honey to the China market was in excess of 310,756 tonnes in 2003, a growth of over 31 per cent from 1997, the report says. Previously the high point in production was in 1997, when supply reached over 237,000 tonnes, after that disease and poor weather impacted production until 2001, when it resumed the levels recorded in 1997.

        ...

        China and the world honey market
        In international terms China is currently by far the largest honey producing nation in the world, with around a 40 per cent slice of the market. The next biggest producers are the US, Argentina and Ukraine. According to the American Honey Producers Association China and Argentina have been adversely affecting America's domestic honey industry with cheap imports, although there is a counter argument that both China and Argentina have been helping to counterbalance falling production in the US. Also starting to emerge onto the world honey production arena are Thailand and Vietnam.

        ...

        Imports and exports
        China's major export markets for honey are Japan (23,015 tonnes), Germany (19,957 tonnes) and US (13,994 tonnes). Belgium, the UK and Spain are also major destination countries.

        Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

        by CSI Bentonville on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 05:14:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh my. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnyRook, Justus

      Yes - it's all about purity.

      Give me a break.

      There's a difference between treating animals humanely and treating them like garbage to be thrown away.

      My cats are all indoor cats - precisely because I love the birds in my yard....and the rabbits...and the raccoons...and the possum...and the skunk...and the chipmunks, etc. And no - all those animals don't get along, but that's not really something I can do anything about. That's nature.

      A raccoon fighting with a possum and killing it is sad...but it isn't the same as rounding up hundreds of animals, causing them pain and suffering, and then murdering them.

      And for your information - I have JUST as many problems with this as I do the factory farms that mistreat animals in THIS country. People need to make better choices. Don't want to support a factory farm? Don't buy meat that came from one. Don't want to support the torture and slaughter of cats, watch something else on TV. It isn't like China has a great human rights record either. This isn't just animals they're killing...this, for me, is the last straw though.

    •  (shrug) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnyRook

      You do realize, do you not, that all life on this planet exists at the expense of other life?  It's the cycle of nature.

      Eating meat doesn't make a person a monster.  utilizing animals isn't the same as being cruel to them.

      Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

      by DawnG on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:32:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What the fuck is wrong with these people?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christin, JohnnyRook

    Seriously!

    ARGH!

    This shit pisses me off.

    You know, I didn't give a shit about the Olympics before. I wasn't going to watch, but I wasn't going to go out of my way to avoid watching either.

    This is where I draw the fucking line.

    I'm not watching this shit. I'm not sitting in a room where anyone else is watching this shit. I'm not participating. Period.

    This is repulsive.

  •  I think this is awful but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mrcia

    I do really have a hard time getting worked up about cats and dogs when these things and far more horrible things are done everyday in this country to cows, sheep, pigs and chickens. Chickens have some really unique and wonderful personalities and yet 9 Billion (billion with a capital "B" aka 9,000 million) are killed each year often still alive when dunked in a boiling bath to de-feather them.

    Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

    The conditions pigs live in and cows too are horrendous and unnatural. That's another billion animals for consumption slaughtered here each year.

    Smithfield Foods, the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world, killed 27 million hogs last year. That's a number worth considering. A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person. The logistical challenge of processing that many pigs each year is roughly equivalent to butchering and boxing the entire human populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, El Paso, Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, Denver, Louisville, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Oklahoma City and Tucson.

    Smithfield Foods actually faces a more difficult task than transmogrifying the populations of America's thirty-two largest cities into edible packages of meat. Hogs produce three times more excrement than human beings do. The 500,000 pigs at a single Smithfield subsidiary in Utah generate more fecal matter each year than the 1.5 million inhabitants of Manhattan. The best estimates put Smithfield's total waste discharge at 26 million tons a year. That would fill four Yankee Stadiums. Even when divided among the many small pig production units that surround the company's slaughterhouses, that is not a containable amount.

    Smithfield estimates that its total sales will reach $11.4 billion this year. So prodigious is its fecal waste, however, that if the company treated its effluvia as big-city governments do -- even if it came marginally close to that standard -- it would lose money. So many of its contractors allow great volumes of waste to run out of their slope-floored barns and sit blithely in the open, untreated, where the elements break it down and gravity pulls it into groundwater and river systems. Although the company proclaims a culture of environmental responsibility, ostentatious pollution is a linchpin of Smithfield's business model.

    A lot of pig shit is one thing; a lot of highly toxic pig shit is another. The excrement of Smithfield hogs is hardly even pig shit: On a continuum of pollutants, it is probably closer to radioactive waste than to organic manure. The reason it is so toxic is Smithfield's efficiency. The company produces 6 billion pounds of packaged pork each year. That's a remarkable achievement, a prolificacy unimagined only two decades ago, and the only way to do it is to raise pigs in astonishing, unprecedented concentrations.

    Smithfield's pigs live by the hundreds or thousands in warehouse-like barns, in rows of wall-to-wall pens. Sows are artificially inseminated and fed and delivered of their piglets in cages so small they cannot turn around. Forty fully grown 250-pound male hogs often occupy a pen the size of a tiny apartment. They trample each other to death. There is no sunlight, straw, fresh air or earth. The floors are slatted to allow excrement to fall into a catchment pit under the pens, but many things besides excrement can wind up in the pits: afterbirths, piglets accidentally crushed by their mothers, old batteries, broken bottles of insecticide, antibiotic syringes, stillborn pigs -- anything small enough to fit through the foot-wide pipes that drain the pits. The pipes remain closed until enough sewage accumulates in the pits to create good expulsion pressure; then the pipes are opened and everything bursts out into a large holding pond.

    The temperature inside hog houses is often hotter than ninety degrees. The air, saturated almost to the point of precipitation with gases from shit and chemicals, can be lethal to the pigs. Enormous exhaust fans run twenty-four hours a day. The ventilation systems function like the ventilators of terminal patients: If they break down for any length of time, pigs start dying.

    From Smithfield's point of view, the problem with this lifestyle is immunological. Taken together, the immobility, poisonous air and terror of confinement badly damage the pigs' immune systems. They become susceptible to infection, and in such dense quarters microbes or parasites or fungi, once established in one pig, will rush spritelike through the whole population. Accordingly, factory pigs are infused with a huge range of antibiotics and vaccines, and are doused with insecticides. Without these compounds -- oxytetracycline, draxxin, ceftiofur, tiamulin -- diseases would likely kill them. Thus factory-farm pigs remain in a state of dying until they're slaughtered. When a pig nearly ready to be slaughtered grows ill, workers sometimes shoot it up with as many drugs as necessary to get it to the slaughterhouse under its own power. As long as the pig remains ambulatory, it can be legally killed and sold as meat.

    The drugs Smithfield administers to its pigs, of course, exit its hog houses in pig shit. Industrial pig waste also contains a host of other toxic substances: ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, cyanide, phosphorous, nitrates and heavy metals. In addition, the waste nurses more than 100 microbial pathogens that can cause illness in humans, including salmonella, cryptosporidium, streptocolli and girardia. Each gram of hog shit can contain as much as 100 million fecal coliform bacteria.

    Smithfield's holding ponds -- the company calls them lagoons -- cover as much as 120,000 square feet. The area around a single slaughterhouse can contain hundreds of lagoons, some of which run thirty feet deep. The liquid in them is not brown. The interactions between the bacteria and blood and afterbirths and stillborn piglets and urine and excrement and chemicals and drugs turn the lagoons pink.

    I just don't get the difference between a cat, a dog, a horse, a parrot, and a cow, a pig, and a chicken.

    Just want people to think about what they consume and why. It's just as much cultural here as there. In fact, as it was pointed out on Oprah last week with Puppy Mills, the Amish don't understand why people would have dogs in their homes.

    Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

    by CSI Bentonville on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 09:43:23 PM PDT

  •  A big problem here in China (4+ / 0-)

    as people abandon pets that they never should have gotten in the first place. High density living is not conducive to having a dog or a cat.

    Coincidentally, I just taught my 300 college students this past week that owning a pet carries a lot of responsibility. 95% are young girls between 17-21, the age that sees a cute puppy and must take it home to baby it.
    And when the puppy grows up to be 50-70 pound Husky living in the tropics in a high rise... trouble.

    As for cats, they are quite different here and no where near as popular as dogs.  I know of no one that has a pet cat. The cats I see here are strays that are very thin, sickly looking, very dirty and mean as hell. I was shopping once and saw a cat look into the small shop from the street. When it saw a small dog being carried by a woman, the damned thing ran in the store, sprang like a panther onto the terrified dog and clawed the hell out of both the dog and the lady.

    Pet ownership is a rapidly spreading western influence that authorities were not prepared to deal with.  There have been recent rabies outbreaks here on the island where I live in the South China sea. I've noticed that the stray dog population seems to be declining (a good thing) but I have not seen any cases of abusive  methods of pet control, nor have I heard of any from area citizens.

    I know many here are cat lovers but it is not the same here as in America. I don't think any of the cats I've seen would pose for a cute pootie pic but would be more likely to rip your legs to shreds.

    My students understood and agreed that the decision to own a  pet is a serious one. Since I teach at a teacher's college and these kids will soon be teachers, I hope I've done something that will have some effect in the future.

    The stretch to linking abusive animal control  to child abuse is quite the slippery slope and should not have been included in this diary IMO.

    Tellin' you all the Zomby troof Here I'm is...

    by Zwoof on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:17:11 PM PDT

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