The dog meat trade in China is, to a significant degree, facilitated by organized crime in the form of dog theft and the transport of stolen dogs (and cats). Despite this, detection and convictions are extremely rare. This needs to change, and seeing Chinese authorities improve law enforcement and crack down on this trade remains a major priority for HSI.
Stopping the dog thieves
Dog theft is so frequent and widespread in China, and the chances of police taking action so slim, that dog owners have been known to take justice into their own hands. Confrontations between dog thieves and dog owners have resulted in serious injuries on both sides, posing a threat to social stability. Pro-active police intervention, strict enforcement of the law at every stage, and increased penalties for law-breaking would go a long way toward deterring dog thieves and traders.
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For example, although trucks crammed with hundreds of dogs are conspicuous on the highway, the police rarely stop them to check their paperwork. This is left to activists such as China Animal Protection Power. HSI would like to see police routinely stopping these trucks instead.
China’s regulations require all animals taken across provincial borders must have individual health certificates, but the dog traders rarely if ever comply with this. While traders can’t be prosecuted for animal cruelty because China currently has no animal protection laws, a lack of required paperwork and evidence of clearly stolen dogs (still wearing their collars) should be enough for the police to immediately confiscate the animals and charge the traders heavy fines.
HSI would welcome the opportunity to work with the police who are doing their very best to enforce the law, to help them promote best practices nationwide so that standards across the country can be elevated. Donate and take action to support our campaigns.