China's dog and cat meat eaters bite back
Anger over animal rights ads that attack the practice
Picture: South China Morning Post
A leading animal rights group has been forced to revise a provocative advertising campaign in northeast China following a public outcry.
Since September, Animals Asia has been urging people across the mainland to stop eating cats and dogs by using a head-turning poster series that shows the animals sandwiched between a pair of chopsticks.
The images are accompanied by a simple message: "Be healthy. Say NO to cat and dog meat."
The advertisements caused a considerable stir and the campaign was hailed as a success by the advocacy group after the images went viral.
However, the campaign faced a backlash in northeastern China, where locals defended their right to eat dog and cat meat as one of their traditions.
In Shenyang - where the consumption of dog meat is widespread - posters in the city's metro system had to be revised following complaints from commuters.
"They think we should not put up the advertisements because eating dogs is a so-called 'tradition,'" said Carrot Chen, Animals Asia cat and dog welfare deputy manager. "We want to spread the message that tradition is not an excuse for cruelty."
In the case of one set of posters, locals took exception to the use of the wordbaoan (security guard) to describe guard dogs, saying it was offensive to actual security guards.
"They couldn't find any real reason to complain, so they just used this word as an excuse," said Chen, rejecting the criticism of the campaign.
The consumption of dog meat is still common in parts of China, where some believe it has the power to ward off ghosts and disease. It is also believed by some to boost men's sexual performance and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat male impotence.
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