What has been done?
With an ever-growing population and emerging economy, China has found small improvements to their systematic treatment of creatures. Before the 2000’s, Animals were constantly being forced into circus’s, zoo’s, and used as meat. My research suggests that in 1999, many new ways of ending animal cruelty in China were under the works and include cruelty, animal rights, and inhumane slaughter of animals. However, the only problem with this was that it applied only to professionals. Song Wei, professor and director of Law at the University of Science and Technology of China states, “Sixteen years past, although a lot of progress has been made, but no animal welfare legislation on national level has been issued. The fact is that a large number of people even the whole society is educated. Animal protection, animal welfare, humane to animals by legal methods, all such consciousness or the animal perspective have been formed and firmed day by day.” (Wei, 2015). It all started in 1983 with the temporary enactment of the Regulation on the Management of Medical Laboratory Animals. Sixteen years have passed and although a lot of progress had been made, still no animal welfare legislation on national level had been issued. Unfortunately, it was not too long until this law was no longer being enforced just a few years later. China has kept animal welfare laws to a minimum, only applying to local districts and cities but does not apply to a national level of enactment. In the late 1990’s the ideas of animal rights were introduced to China and several animal rights movements were formed. From protests in major Chinese cities to hi-jacking cars jam-packed with shivering animals, the animal activists of China have made a significant difference to animal cruelty in their country. Actions including the formation of many activists grouping up to save almost 500 dogs from a food distribution truck where they had suffered extremely harsh conditions. Social media has also played a role in ending animal cruelty where activists acted out and set up a Change.org petition to collect hundreds ultimately, millions of signatures to end the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Additionally, on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, the #YulinDogMeatFestival hashtag has taken full charge to spread awareness.
China also caters to an ever-growing industry of poaching. Poaching has enhanced Chinas economy for over a decade now. The value of a single rhino horn may be worth up to $60,000 per pound in U.S. currency. The Black Market in China has been an immense aid to poachers through the vending of these valuable items on streets and in very urban areas such as Hong Kong. In early September of 2015, China broke out with a ban on the trading of ivory. Hand-in-hand China and the United States, the second largest consumer of ivory in the world, have pledged to put an end to ivory trader whether it is already legal or not. However, Chinese government did consider an ivory buyback; meaning that it can buy back ivory and rhino horns from licensed manufacturers, and not poachers. Thankfully, this ban raised global awareness and the price of ivory plummeted. Simon Denyer, writer of the Washington Post, states that “Campaigns led by WildAid, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, supported by Chinese state media and private companies, and fronted by local celebrities like basketball star Yao Ming, appear to have had a major impact.”(Denyer, The Washington Post) Although there is a lawful ban on ivory in China, the Black Market still thrives for it. Ivory is being sold on the streets and on the internet. After the ban, China decided that the best decision was to store ivory rather than destroy it, sending out a signal that it’s still immensely valuable. Washington Post’s article, Lifeline for elephants: Ivory price halves in China after Xi pledges ban, states that, “Douglas-Hamilton is co-author of a study that found that 100,000 elephants had been killed for their tusks in Africa between 2010 and 2012. He said the latest research showed that “the rates of killing right up to the end of 2014 have not changed significantly for the better,” although there had been a reduction in poaching in Kenya” (Washington Post) . What do I think should be done? As valuable ivory is deemed to be, it should all be burned. By burning it all, it sends out a clear message that it’s something that will not be tolerated and there will be consequences.