The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is deeply concerned by reports that China is culling cats in its capital city in advance of the Olympic Games in August.
News reports state that Beijing’s cats are being rounded up and taken to holding facilities. Their future is uncertain, but it is widely suspected that they will be killed inhumanely.
WSPA believes that visitors to the Summer Olympics will be far more distressed by the fact that culling has taken place in preparation for their arrival than by the presence of cats on the streets.
Read about how you can speak up for the cats below.
Taking action: first steps
As media reports do not always accurately reflect the situation on the ground, WSPA examines allegations of animal cruelty. This enables us to understand the underlying motivations and to ensure we can respond effectively.
Peter Williams, WSPA Regional Director of Asia, is currently investigating the most effective way to collaborate on this issue and urge the Chinese authorities to adopt humane methods of stray cat population control.
He says “We are making positive and progressive headway to hold meetings with officials to resolve this issue.
“Next week WSPA China plans to facilitate and obtain authorisation for two of its veterinarians to visit the cat holding facility in order to discuss alternative and humane methods in controlling the cat population of Beijing.”
Peter is also working with local and international animal welfare groups and the authorities to resolve the underlying problems. By understanding why authorities are concerned about populations of cats in Beijing, and where these cats are coming from, we can design humane interventions to manage their numbers.
Working with China to improve animal welfare
To demonstrate your concern for the welfare of Beijing’s stray cats, please write a personal letter to your local Chinese embassy expressing your concern about the proposed cull.
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WSPA’s Beijing office is active in many areas of animal welfare in China and has achieved successes within the country, most recently improving the standards of animal welfare in slaughter houses in China.
This shows that the nation’s animal welfare can be improved, if we are willing to act in cooperation with local groups and authorities.
What works: promoting long-term stray solutions
WSPA works with local animal welfare groups and governments around the world to address stray cat and dog problems humanely and comprehensively.
Our experience has shown us that the large scale culling of stray animals doesn’t work in the long term and that the methods used can be very cruel. Effective long term management can only be achieved through working with the local communities to encourage responsible ownership.
Kate Blaszak, Veterinary Programmes Manager for WSPA Asia, emphasises the importance of education about pet ownership to prevent cats from being unwanted and abandoned in the first place:
“In China cats are sometimes considered to be a risk to human health but in fact this is incredibly rare and culls may actually trigger disease in some cases.
“We are working to get the message out that cats are safe pets, particularly if vaccinated, dewormed and sterilised, to encourage people to be responsible pet owners and not let their cats or unwanted offspring end up homeless”.